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Secretary-General Pledges Support to Roma Communities Worldwide, Marking Five Decades Since First International Romani Union Congress

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message to the International Romani Union, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of its first Congress, on 8 April:

I send my warmest wishes as you mark the fiftieth anniversary of the first Congress of the International Romani Union.  This is an important day in the history of the Romani people, celebrating the adoption of the Romani flag and the anthem Djelem Djelem and the birthdate of the Romani movement.

The troubled human rights situation of Roma worldwide has long been a matter of serious concern to the United Nations.  I have spoken out about this suffering, most recently on this year’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  The United Nations Human Rights Council and other bodies have dedicated specific attention to the protection and promotion of the rights of Roma, recognizing that Roma have faced, for centuries, discrimination, rejection, social exclusion and marginalization all over the world and in all areas of life.

The United Nations is strongly committed to working together with Roma civil society and other partners in strengthening the protection of human rights and freedoms.  We stand with you and all Romani women, Romani lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people, Roma from minority religious communities and with all Roma who stand up to combat multiple forms of discrimination, including stereotyping and hate speech.  We will continue to speak out against anti-Gypsyism and support efforts to secure the genuine inclusion of Roma in societies across the globe.

Please accept my best wishes for a memorable observance of International Roma Day.

For information media. Not an official record.