Joseph G Jones slams Eric Pickles’ Holocaust Envoy role – because he discriminated against Gypsies and Travellers

16 April 2018
Eric Pickles discriminated against Gypsies and Travellers

Sir Eric Pickles’ role as the UK’s Holocaust Envoy has been questioned by a veteran Romany Gypsy campaigner because the former Government Minister was once found to have discriminated against Gypsies and Travellers in court.

Joseph G Jones, from the Gypsy Council, spoke out in a post on Gypsy Council Thames Valley Facebook page on April 8th  International Roma Day, and said that Pickles’ past history of discrimination against Gypsies and Travellers made him unfit for the role.

Gypsy Council Thames Valley

“I saw some time ago that Eric Pickles the former Sec State - infamous for discriminating against Romani Gypsies and Travellers - was appointed Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust issues in September 2015,” said Joseph Jones.

“That does not sound right to me. There are two main groups who suffered in the World War Two Holocaust, one were the Jewish people and two - the Romani Gypsies,” he added.

Pickles ended up in hot water in January 2015, after his controversial anti-Traveller planning policy was successfully challenged by lawyers in the High Court.

A High Court judge found Pickles’ policy of calling in Traveller planning applications from independent government planning inspectors and determining them himself to be discriminatory.

Roma Violinists Roma Holocaust Day Hyde Park
Roma musicians play at the August 2nd Roma Holocaust Memorial Day in Hyde Park, London, 2015.

Even though the policy was found to be discriminatory, Pickles still failed to provide justice to the Gypsy and Traveller families discriminated against and ordered his government department to not reverse any of his decisions. Instead, Gypsy and Traveller families had to pay tens of thousands of pounds in court and lawyers’ fees to re-fight their planning battles. Some of Pickles’ victims are STILL fighting for justice and a permanent home.

Less than ten months later Pickles was appointed by the government as the Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues.

Pickles - Ensuring the Holocaust is properly commemorated and the lessons learnt?

At the time of the appointment, Pickles said: “I am very honoured to have been asked to take on this role. The UK is a leader internationally in ensuring the Holocaust is properly commemorated and the lessons learnt. I am deeply committed to ensuring we retain and build on this position over the years to come.”

The exact number of Romani victims are unclear, but estimates range from between ¼ and 1 million were murdered by the Nazi’s and their allies during the Second World War.

By Mike Doherty/TT News

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Related content: Gypsy Council wins victory in the fight for more rights and recognition of the Roma Holocaust - click here.

(Picture: Wikimiedia)