International Roma Day

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 7, 2011

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send greetings to all Roma everywhere as you celebrate International Roma Day this April 8.  In communities across Europe and around the world, Romani people have contributed in ways large and small to culture, music, and the arts.  This is also an occasion to commemorate the history of brave resistance against Nazi persecution.

Protecting and promoting the rights of Romani people everywhere is a personal commitment of mine.  Far too often and in too many places, Roma continue to experience racial profiling, violence, segregation, and other forms of discrimination.  Individuals, organizations, and governments must establish the political, legal, and social landscape to encourage and value diversity.  I call upon European leaders to redouble their efforts to ensure that Romani people are not discriminated against in access to education, healthcare, housing and employment opportunities.

I am pleased to announce that in the coming days, we will be launching two new programs to assist members of Romani communities in Romania, Moldova, Slovakia and Hungary. These programs are in addition to our ongoing support in Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo and elsewhere across Europe.  We are working to increase legal assistance, expand educational opportunities, and help more Romani people participate in political discourse to strengthen a new generation of Romani community leaders.  With the help of governments, international organizations, civil society groups, and others around the world, we are helping Romani communities and individuals everywhere chart a new path so that every Romani person may live up to her or his God-given potential.