On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the European population recalls the genocide perpetrated by the Nazi regime and its allies of millions of Jews and Roma, and the massacre of tens of thousands that did not fit the Nazi ideology, including persons with disabilities, Jehovah's witnesses, homosexuals, and political opponents.
On this occasion, the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF), the European Disability Forum (EDF), the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (EGAM), the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS), the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO), René Cassin and the Roma Virtual Network (RVN) wish to express their deep concern over the rise of anti-Semitism and other xenophobic, extremist and racist movements in European countries today. Governments and general society seem unaware of the dangers that this development could pose in the future, and are oblivious to the fact that the Holocaust was the logical, tragic outcome of decades of tolerated latent anti-Semitism, Anti-Gypsyism, racism and hatred of the Other. The Holocaust happened because of year-long acquiescence to such growing roots of hate, and because too many people forfeited their sense of responsibility.
We therefore call on national governments as well as inter-governmental organisations, civil society organisation and individuals to act while there still is time and room to do so.
This Remembrance Day should not only commemorate the dead and celebrate those who upheld humanity in those dark times; it should serve as a most urgent appeal to all states to protect the Human Rights of minorities, and ensure the security of all citizens, regardless of their ethnicity, religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation or gender
identity. Strong policies for educating citizens on the unity, equality and dignity of all human beings need to be adopted immediately, and laws must be vigorously applied and enforced to stem the tide of racist ideologies.
If we do not act today, we may very well face an unthinkable situation tomorrow.
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