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Ambassador Norman L. Eisen remarks for International Roma Day 2012

International Roma Day Celebration in Brno in 2010 (Photo: Jana Šustová) April 8 is International Roma Day and I, along with U.S. Ambassadors and officials around the world, offer my best wishes to all members of the Roma community. The cultural and historic ties of the Roma community in the Czech Republic are deep and long-standing. Yet, Roma citizens continue to face a myriad of challenges in their home country. Czechs of Roma ethnicity have every right to demand equal access to education and employment opportunities; safety and security for themselves and their families; safe, affordable housing; and an end to discrimination. But, to reach these goals, government, civil society, and the Roma community itself must be willing to cooperate.

Ambassador Norman L. Eisen (Photo: Embassy of the United States) Earlier this year, Secretary Clinton met with young Roma activists in Sofia, where she stated that, “helping to promote and protect the inalienable human rights of Roma everywhere is a long-standing personal commitment of mine, and it is a stated foreign policy priority of this Administration.” The level of this commitment was reflected in the decision for the U.S. to join the Decade of Roma Inclusion as an official observer. As always, the U.S. is willing to share our own experiences with diversity and inclusion. The struggle is often long, but worth the effort.

At the heart of the American experience is a history of diversity that embraces the many cultures that created our country. We value the rich ethnic, religious, and cultural traditions of our citizens and strive to recognize the importance of each. In honor of this year’s International Roma Day, I encourage Czechs of all backgrounds to take a moment to remember the important role of diversity in Czech society and to fight for equal rights for all citizens.

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