SWC to Romanian President: Dismiss Foreign Minister for Proposal to Deport Roma to Egyptian Desert

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Wiesenthal Centre to Romanian President: Dismiss Foreign Minister for Proposal to Deport Roma to Egyptian Desert Reservation

Paris, 9 November 2007

In a letter to Romanian Prime Minister, Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, expressed astonishment that "in your current state visit to Italy, to discuss the situation of Romanian Roma (Gypsy) migrants, you are still accompanied by your Foreign Minister, Adrian Cioroianu."

Samuels noted that "last week, the same Cioroianu had announced, in Cairo, his intention to purchase 'a stretch of Egyptian desert to relocate all those who harm our image'".

The letter continued, "Mr Prime Minister, such a concept is redolent of the early Nazi plan to deport the Jews to the island of Madagascar, turning it into a massive reservation/ concentration camp. Indeed, such a statement was the seed from which gestated the Holocaust in which millions of Jews and Roma perished – including those on the soil of Romania."

The Centre urged Tariceanu "to publicly condemn Cioroianu for his statement, to dismiss him from the Romanian government and to apologize to the Roma community in Europe."

"Your silence would passively endorse racism and the violation of Romania's commitments to its membership in the European Union, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)," concluded Samuels.

The protest was shared with José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission in Brussels, Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, and Ambassador Christian Strohal, Director of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).


For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at +33.609.77.01.58