The 8th of April is International Roma Day, marking the annual celebration of Roma culture and raising awareness about the deplorable situation Roma communities continue to face across Europe.

In the light of this day, several European networks have issued statements: for example, the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) emphasise the richness of Roma culture and the need to build new relations with the Roma community in the context of ‘healing and reconciliation’. The European Roma and Traveller Forum (ERTF) underlines the manifold contributions Roma are making to society, and the need to critically address perceptions which result in violence, discrimination and hatespeech. The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) stresses the importance of raising awareness about Roma culture and history to build intercultural dialogue and combat prejudices.

Eurodiaconia has also released a statement, placing a particular emphasis on continuing expulsions of Roma, which undermine their fundamental rights as European citizens, and the need to involve representatives from Roma communities more strongly in decision-making processes (both at the level of policy-making and service delivery). To access the statement, please click here.