Statement Commemorating International Roma Day, April 8, 2013

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 6, 2013

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I want to send best wishes to all Roma on the occasion of International Roma Day. We mark the day by celebrating the rich Romani culture and the diverse contributions of Roma to our societies. On this day, we should reflect on the obstacles that continue to prevent millions of Roma from realizing their potential.

Roma continue to face wide-ranging discrimination in access to education, employment, housing, and healthcare. In recent years, the global economic crisis slowed progress to address these challenges and led to growing anti-Roma rhetoric and, even more alarming, violence. The walling off of some Roma villages from neighboring areas and the eviction of entire communities of Roma families from their homes vividly illustrates their exclusion and isolation. We cannot ignore these deeply troubling developments. No country can meet 21st century challenges with a large segment of its population uneducated and excluded.

The United States reaffirms its determination to meet this challenge, together with European governments, civil society, and through international organizations such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, to achieve equality, opportunity, and inclusion for all Roma.

PRN: 2013/0376