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Minorities: Experts call for more protection for Sinti and Roma

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) has called on a future federal government and the Bundestag to persevere in the fight against right-wing extremism and antiziganism. The fight against racism – especially against Sinti and Roma – is “the most important area of ​​his ministry in terms of social policy alongside the protection of the population”. Unfortunately, these topics are usually only addressed “when something happens”, said Seehofer, “I would like us to make it a permanent topic.”

Together with Romani Rose, the chairman of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, the Interior Minister presented the report of the Independent Commission on Antiziganism in Berlin on Tuesday. The panel of experts set up by the black-red coalition covered the entire spectrum of past persecution and ongoing discrimination against Sinti and Roma in Germany on 500 pages.

The experts describe in detail how members of the ethnic group still experience racism on a daily basis – at work and when looking for accommodation, in schools and authorities, through social workers, doctors and the media. The commission mentions publicly visible cases of antigypsyism that have occurred during the two years of its work. These include the carrying away of an eleven-year-old handcuffed child in Hamburg, plans for a S-Bahn tunnel in Berlin that could damage the memorial for the Sinti and Roma of Europe murdered under National Socialism, and the racially motivated attack in Hanau in February 2020. Under the nine victims in Hanau were the Roma Mercedes Kierpacz, Vili Viorel Păun and Kaloyan Velkov.

The aftermath of the National Socialist genocide of the Sinti and Roma ran “like a red thread” through the history of the Federal Republic, write the experts – mainly because the persecution suffered was not recognized for decades and the state and society stigmatized the minority lasted.

The experts consider a “fundamental change of perspective” to be necessary

The Commission is now calling for a “fundamental change in perspective in society” and a “policy of catching up justice”. Specifically, she recommends setting up a federal commissioner against antiziganism and a federal-state commission. In addition, a committee should shed light on the injustice of the “second persecution” of the Sinti and Roma in the Federal Republic. In addition, the body demands “comprehensive” recognition of the National Socialist genocide.

Seehofer expressed “great sympathy” for these demands. At the end of June, members of all democratic parliamentary groups supported the report in a debate in the Bundestag. But the AfD did not want to join.

However, one recommendation was met with opposition from the CDU and CSU: The experts want Roma immigrants from the Balkans to be recognized as particularly in need of protection and their home countries no longer classified as “safe countries of origin”. This would make it easier for Roma to access asylum and protect them from deportation. Seehofer refused to take such a step.


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