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 Govt Plenipotentiary for Romani Communities Ján Hero: Census numbers do not reflect the actual number of Romani men and women here
- Slovak census: More than 156 000 people declared Romani nationality, more than 100 000 declared Romanes as their mother tongue
- Slovak NGO chair says half of all Romani women living in excluded communities experience domestic violence
- COVID-19 impacts impoverish most of humanity while the assets of the ultra-rich expand
- Editors at Slovak news server apologize for anti-Romani, racist joke, but legislator is filing a complaint
- Czech biologist says COVID-19 Omicron variant has no problem defeating our immunity
- Community spread of Omicron reported from socially excluded locality in the Czech Republic
- Their mother almost died of COVID-19, but brothers in Czech Republic believe they have since convinced hundreds in their family to get vaccinated
- Court in the Netherlands orders far-right politician to delete tweets comparing those avoiding the COVID-19 vaccine to Jews during the Holocaust
- Slovak court finally ends absurd story of Romani victims of police brutality being charged with perjury, exonerating the last such defendant
- Slovak first-instance court rules that Romani children were unlawfully assigned to "special needs" classes
- German counter-intelligence says right-wing extremist numbers growing as people radicalize in response to COVID-19