EUobserver on how anti-Roma racism is being exploited during the COVID-19 pandemic
News server EUobserver has published an analysis by Bernard Rorke, an editor with the Brussels-based European Roma Rights Centre, of how anti-Roma and anti-Traveller racism is motivating the responses of officials and politicians around Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the conditions in which the least fortunate members of these communities live make it difficult for them to follow what are, at this point in time, life-saving recommendations on personal hygiene and social distancing.
Hundreds of thousands of Roma throughout Europe live in overcrowded settlements without access to water, which is also an issue for Travellers living on overcrowded sites. Activists in Ireland have been raising the alarm about the danger this represents.
EUobserver reports that for years, local authorities in Ireland have failed to address the accommodation crisis for Travellers, refusing to use the state financing available for this purpose and frequently evicting families, who end up living out of vehicles on the roadside. Dr Sindy Joyce informed the paper that the neglect is intentional: "The racial divide is deeply ingrained into Irish society where hostility and violence towards my people is seen to be justified because of our 'difference' to the mainstream settled population."
The article also touches on the situation in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, referencing research from the Roma Civil Monitor project. See the full version here.
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