United Nations Statement
A statement by Gay McDougall, United Nations Independent Expert on Minority issues, on UK National Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month emphasised the importance of the month when stating: "I warmly welcome today the beginning of the UK National Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month as a valuable example of how minorities’ contributions to society can and should be discussed, celebrated and promoted. Widespread societal discrimination and anti-Gypsy, Roma and Traveller prejudice continues and must be addressed by all countries in which it remains an ugly and disturbing reality."
The also event had the backing of Lord Adonis, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Schools.
He states: “We can challenge myths, tackle prejudice and be in a position to offer a balanced debate about the issues. We will all be able to celebrate the richness that Gypsy, Roma and Travellers communities bring to our everyday lives through their many and varied academic and artistic achievements.”
The celebrations have started. Its aims are simple:
- to explain the history and culture of the communities,
- to challenge myths and break down barriers,
- to celebrate the richness that these communities bring to our everyday lives.
Finally, Gay McDougall again: "Legislation on non-discrimination alone will never be enough. Creative and educational initiatives such as this one are also required to challenge stereotypes and overcome barriers. UK National Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month is an important step on a long road towards discussing and confronting discrimination against such communities. "
One of the aims of GRTHM is to counter-balance the widespread ignorance of Traveller communities that often leads to hatred and conflict. Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month celebrates our culture and history by tackling the negative stereotyping and prejudices that have led to this situation.