Slovak NGOs call on Government to stop discriminating against Romani people in the context of testing for COVID-19 and closing settlements
Some nonprofits in Slovakia that concentrate on the Romani community are calling on the Government there not to discriminate against Romani people while they test them for COVID-19 and close settlements where infection is found; the full statement of their petition is below. Slovakia has been under a state of emergency since 15 March; according to the World Health Organization, official data reported this morning that there are 682 total cases in the country and there have been two deaths due to COVID-19 so far.
NGO challenge to the Government of the Slovak Republic to immediately eliminate discriminatory measures against marginalized Romani communities
We all know the current situation in the Romani communities is a consequence of those involved having waited too long, having underestimated the situation, and not having not paid enough attention to people returning to Slovakia from abroad and heading back to the environments of the most impoverished localities at the beginning of the spread of COVID-19 in Slovakia. Individuals with travel histories freely crossed the border and returned to their home environments.
From our position as NGOs and other entities actively working in communities, we have been doing our best to draw attention to the situation since the end of March, and during our efforts we warned the Government of the Slovak Republic about the fact that we perceive closing localities with the aid of the armed forces and of the Army of the Slovak Republic to be an extreme alternative that could spark panic and unrest among the people in the communities and also contribute to increasing tensions between the majority population and Romani people. Currently we have just a single piece of data available to the public, about 31 people who have tested positive in five communities, out of roughly 1 000 people tested, which certainly, in our opinion, does not represent a percentage of infected persons that would necessitate closing entire communities with the aid of the armed forces.
This is a relatively low number of people whom it would be possible to immediately relocate into purpose-built facilities, as is happening in the case of majority-society people who have returned from abroad. Measures that limit the freedom of movement and liberty of citizens to a significant degree contravene the declarations that people from marginalized communities are being treated equally.
We are asking that the Government of the Slovak Republic approach the most vulnerable citizens in these marginalized communities without using the kinds of measures that spark concerns about discriminatory behavior and that stigmatize Romani men and women as the origins of infection! We are calling on the Government of the Slovak Republic to do what they said they would do and to oversee the securing of dignified conditions for individuals in marginalized communities that will be put under forced quarantine!
If the Government of the Slovak Republic intends to bring the spread of coronavirus under control, it is their obligation to treat all citizens of the Slovak Republic equally and, where necessary, they should close down entire municipalities, not just the communities of marginalized Romani people. Under the current situation, we are asking for the expansion of this preventive testing for all groups at risk, including individuals from the majority population who may have potentially come into contact with persons who have tested positive in different parts of Slovakia.
Ing. Ingrid Kosová, PhD. - chair of Quo vadis, o. z.
Mgr. Vlado Rafael, PhD. - director of eduRoma, o. z.
Mgr. Zuzana Havířová - Romani Advocacy and Research Center (RAVS)
- Slovakia: Five Romani-inhabited settlements are being closed for quarantine, 30+ COVID-19 infected persons found so far
- Slovak President greets Romani people for International Romani Day: Paľikerav tumenge. Džanav mištes hoj jekhetane koda keraha
- Slovakia confirms COVID-19 in Romani community of Richnava
- Slovakia: 40 FAQs about COVID-19 testing in marginalized Roma communities
- Slovakia reports first positive COVID-19 test in Romani settlements
- Slovakia reports that none of the samples tested for COVID-19 in Jarovnice came back positive
- Slovakia: COVID-19 testing begins in Romani settlements, those who test positive will be locally quarantined
- Slovak Govt Plenipotentiary for Roma tells ROMEA TV there are no plans for the Army and police to "invade" Romani settlements
- Slovakia will test Romani settlement residents for COVID-19 and isolate infected people in state-run facilities
- Slovakia: New Plenipotentiary for Roma to be Andrea Bučková
- Slovak Govt Plenipotentiary for Romani Communities tells PM to either fire him or let him do his job
- NGOs call on new Slovak Government to end the segregation of Romani children in education
- Slovak Romani settlement quarantined after resident returns from England
- Slovakia to have a new Plenipotentiary for Roma, MEP wants it to be a Romani person
- Jan Horvát: Czech and Slovak Govts must immediately combat COVID-19 in excluded localities
- MEP Peter Pollák joins Slovak Permanent Crisis Team to address COVID-19 in Romani localities
- Slovak NGOs demand crisis plan from Govt to prevent COVID-19 pandemic in Romani communities, ombudswoman supports them
- Irena Biháriová on developments in Slovakia: Who is really being ostracized?
- Slovak Government apologizes for anti-Jewish measures during WWII
- LIVE AT 16:00 CET: Pope Francis meets Romani people at Košice's Luník IX housing estate in Slovakia
- Czech mobile vaccination teams revisit socially excluded localities where COVID-19 disinformation has had more of an impact
- Austria's Die Presse: Covert racism is why Europe's Roma are worse off after COVID-19 pandemic
- Romani runner in Slovakia whose junior career has been so hopeful confirms she is pregnant
- Czech mobile team has vaccinated about 100 people against COVID-19 at the Mojžíř housing estate and will visit other excluded localities
- Czech mobile vaccination teams visit excluded localities in Ostrava-Přívoz, Regional Authority working with Romani NGOs on outreach
- Slovakia: Drunken, knife-wielding man threatens to kill Romani children for being in a park and is now in custody
- Romani-inhabited housing estate Luník IX in Slovakia sees start of local vaccinations against COVID-19
- In the Czech Republic, mobile teams have begun vaccinating people against COVID-19 in socially excluded localities
- Romani women and children in Slovakia assaulted physically and verbally by stranger at a lake
- Slovak Government apologizes to Romani community for brutal police raid in 2013