On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I want to send best wishes to all Roma as they mark International Roma Day. Today we celebrate the history, impact and culture of Romani people. From music and art to science and literature, Romani people have contributed in ways large and small to the fabric of countless societies.
But too often and in too many places, they are forced to live on the margins. They are segregated, beaten, and systematically discriminated against. They are denied access to an education and to jobs. Despite a decade of progress, during this global economic downturn incidents of anti-Roma rhetoric and violence are on the rise.
Romani people are on the frontlines of the struggle for greater human rights and dignity. That is why the United States is working to protect Roma minorities and end discrimination. We are helping improve opportunities for Roma to participate in the political, social, economic, and cultural lives of their communities. Roma everywhere deserve the opportunity to have a better and brighter future. As I said in Bulgaria at a meeting with young Roma professionals, the United States is committed to working with civil society groups and governments to make a real difference in the lives of Roma.
We believe governments have a special responsibility to ensure that members of the Roma community -- and all minority communities -- have the tools to succeed as productive members of society. So let us continue to forge new partnerships, discover new areas of understanding and respect, and redouble our efforts to address the plight of Roma on behalf of a freer, fairer and more inclusive Europe.