SWC Urges Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner to Prioritize Plight of Eastern Europe's Roma Population -CORRECTED-

Wiesenthal Centre to the 47 Member-States Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner: “On the 68th Anniversary of “the ‘Porrajmos’ Gypsy Genocide – Focus
Priority is Eastern Europe”.

Paris, 6 August 2012

In a letter to the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, marked “the 68th anniversary of the ‘Porrajmos’ (Devouring), the genocide of an estimated 500,000 Roma and Sinti Gypsies at the hands of the Nazis.”

Samuels noted, “On the night of 2-3 August, 1944, Rudolf Hoess ordered the liquidation of the ‘Zigeunerlager’ (Gypsy Camp) at Auschwitz-Birkenau and the immediate gassing of the remaining 3,000 Romani men, women and children.”

The letter stressed, “The common fate of Jews and Gypsies determined by the Nazi race theorists led the late Simon Wiesenthal to work closely with Roma and Sinti survivors. Today, Le Centre Simon Wiesenthal - France is participating in a joint Voyage of Memory to the death camps for Jewish and Romani students.”

The Centre pointed to “its particular focus on Hungary, due to the infiltration of hate into the mainstream politics of that country and even its representatives at the European Parliament” (Photo: Recent poster campaign in Budapest). “Sadly, we have yet to receive an adequate response regarding our appeals to the Hungarian authorities for effective counter-action.”

The letter acknowledged, “Both the European Parliament and the Council of Europe have enacted resolutions, directives and framework agreements on hate-crime,” adding “These require a calendar for application and implementation.”

Samuels, in congratulating Muiznieks as a man of action, commended him as. “The right man in the right place at the right time,” suggesting that he “prioritize his focus on anti-Semitism and Romaphobia in the countries named above.”

The Centre, “As an NGO in consultative status to the 47 member-state Council of Europe, offered its research resources to assist the Commissioner in this crucial task.”

For further information contact Dr. Shimon Samuels on 0033 (0) 609 770158, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).