Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today said promoting and protecting the inalienable human rights of Roma everywhere is a stated foreign policy priority of Obama Administration.
In her remarks at a roundtable with young Roma professionals in Bulgaria, Ms. Clinton said one of the pieces of unfinished business in Europe is the full integration of the Roma people into the societies and nations where they reside.
“For too long, Roma citizens have been marginalized and isolated, prevented from contributing their talents and participating in their societies. This is a critical matter of human rights, and it affects millions of men, women, and children across the continent.” -Ms. Clinton
She expressed concern to see anti-Roma violence and protests, which in some places are increasing and getting worse.
She highlighted that building better understanding between Roma and non-Roma communities is very important.
“I remember visiting with Roma children at the Faith, Hope, and Love Center during my visit to Bulgaria back in 1998. Seeing their spirit and intelligence shining through the adversity that they had experienced in their young lives was a highlight of my trip.” -Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton cited that discrimination anywhere, against anyone, diminishes the human dignity of all.
At the roundtable meeting, Ms. Clinton announced that the United States will join the Decade of Roma Inclusion as an official observer.
She underlined that this commitment is admirable by European governments. The commitment will help improve opportunities for Roma to participate in the political, social, economic, and cultural lives of their communities.
She commended the Government of Bulgaria for their Roma integration strategy. She urged them to work together with the Roma communities to implement the plans that have been adopted.
“Now, there’s a moral reason why supporting the rights of the Roma people is the right thing to do, but there’s also, in today’s 21st century economy, economic reasons.” -Ms. Clinton
She stressed that countries that don’t fully integrate women or minorities of any kind will face the loss of human potential.
Romani people is an ethnic group with origins in northern India who are widely dispersed with their largest concentrated populations in Europe, especially Central and Eastern Europe.
Alarming condition of the Roma people was a social blight for Europe and the rest of the world as they reportedly regularly faced social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, language barriers, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, racist slogans on Internet.