On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I offer warm wishes to all Roma as they mark International Roma Day. This is an opportunity to celebrate the many contributions of Roma to the historical and cultural development of Europe. Romani influences on the fields of music, theater, literature, and dance have added to the richness of European culture, from the music of Brahms to the novels of Cervantes. Today we also remember and honor the brave acts of resistance by Romani men and women who refused to remain silent in the face of extermination by the Nazi regime.
Most importantly, International Roma Day is an opportunity to call attention to the challenges that continue to face Europe’s ten million Roma. Protecting and promoting the human rights of Roma everywhere has long been a personal commitment for me, and under the Obama Administration it is a priority of the United States. Like all citizens, Roma should have the opportunity to live free from discrimination, enjoy equal access to education, healthcare and employment, and pursue their full God-given potential.
Through a range of initiatives, including development assistance, international visitor programs, and constructive interaction between law enforcement and minority communities, the United States is working with our partners to make respect for the rights of Roma the norm across Europe. Working with governments, international organizations, civil society groups, and individual citizens, we seek to help Roma chart their own destinies, with opportunity, dignity and prosperity.