North Macedonia selects just Romani people crossing the border for quarantine in unhygienic conditions
The European Roma Rights Centre reports that nine Romani musicians travelling home to North Macedonia were the only people to be selected from among a convoy of 200 travelers for quarantine at the border. The nine were the first people to be quarantined on returning to the country, and the only ones in the convoy to be held despite having no symptoms of the COVID-19 virus and signing a solemn declaration to participate in the country's compulsory self-isolation measures once they arrived at their destination.
North Macedonian Health Minister Venko Filipce first announced on 17 March that the entire group of 200 people arriving at the Deve Bair border crossing would be quarantined because they were arriving from Austria and Italy, which are deemed medium-risk and high-risk countries, respectively, in the ongoing pandemic. He announced that "all of them will be placed in a group quarantine in the Prepeliste army building in Krivolak, where they will have a medical team who will do check-ups, give them food, and everything that is needed will be provided".
Defense Minister Radmila Shekerinska then posted to her official Facebook page that all citizens coming from high-risk countries would be quarantined until tests could be carried out to determine if they carried the novel coronavirus. However, the only people to be taken to the Prepeliste compound were a group of nine Romani musicians (the Orkestar Veseli Momci group), who had traveled from the medium-risk country of Austria.
The whereabouts of the other people who crossed the border at that place and time are apparently a mystery. Later announcements from the Health Minister suggested that they had yet to be granted entry, but eyewitness reports from a TV24 journalist said many were allowed to walk across the border after signing a solemn declaration to participate in the country's compulsory self-isolation measures for 14 days.
It is unclear why the only people to be quarantined at that place and time were Roma, and the Government has not offered any explanation for why they were taken to Prepeliste. The Roma detainees posted a video of themselves in their isolation compound to social media showing not just that they were the only people being held there, but that the quarantine itself was being carried out in unhygienic conditions.
In the video the nine Romani men are visible, with one saying to the camera: “We only want to be tested and if we have to stay in home isolation and quarantine, we will stay, not only 14 but 30 days if needed. Here the conditions are dire. The entire world speaks about hygiene but here we can’t have that. They lie to us that 200 people will be placed here, but it's only the nine of us, all Roma.”
After that social media post, the men were relocated to the small town of Demir Kapija and given COVID-19 tests, all of which came back negative. Those results were publicly reported by the local mayor through his Facebook profile instead of being delivered directly to each individual person tested.
- EUobserver on how anti-Roma racism is being exploited during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Busting the COVID-19 myths circulating in Czech
- Scientists confirm COVID-19 evolved in nature
- EU reports that Russia has launched a disinformation campaign about COVID-19
- Czech and Slovak extremists do their best to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic, attacking the EU and public broadcast media
- Czech socially excluded localities see limited services due to COVID-19, nonprofit staffers lack protective gear
- Coronavirus pandemic can make conditions in the Romani settlements of Slovakia deadly, protective gear slow to reach those who need it
- Coronavirus-related HOAX in the Czech language alleges USA is moving troops to Europe
- Director of EU FRA: Racism has no place in combating coronavirus, human rights limitations must be proportionate
- Macedonian Govt settles out of court with Romani family as Romani deaths in prisons keep happening
- Romani journalist from Macedonia raises forced marriage at the OSCE
- Macedonian Police discriminated against Roma at border crossing, family to be compensated
- Macedonia: Local council votes to dislocate Roma from settlement
- Poverty depopulating Roma settlement in Macedonia
- Macedonia: The sound of Shutka
- Public hearing for the condition of the Roma in Macedonia
- Commentary: Work on antisemitism by US professor reminds us of antigypsyism in the Czech Republic today
- European Commission acknowledges racism is structural and beefs up the fight against racial discrimination
- Czech town to see exhibition by pro-Romani and Romani artists referencing the Black Lives Matter movement
- COMMENTARY: Even if the Czech Public Defender of Rights repeats the same lie about Roma a thousand times, that won't make it true
- Czech capital to see new Center for the Roma and Sinti, meant to serve the general public
- Czech school claims it's "random" that white children are segregated from Romani children in separate first-grade class
- Commentary: The Czech and Slovak Romani community on the battlefield that is Facebook
- Newest Czech party tries to exploit altercations between Vlax Romani families as part of its election campaign
- UK: Thousands of Czech citizens, mainly Roma, don't have the documents they need to apply for settled status
- Czech ceremony commemorating Romani prisoners sent to Auschwitz on 20 August attended by more than 150 people
- Czech commentator expected stronger condemnation by politicians of the racist reactions to the worst arson attack since 1990
- Czech MP who said she "understood" racist death threats against Romani and other non-white children switches parties