The Coronavirus pandemic hit Roma and Travellers particularly hard, shows a new bulletin from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). Many Roma and Travellers lost their income, overcrowding and lack of sanitation increased their health risks, and distance learning was difficult without internet access. Discrimination and anti-Roma rhetoric have increased too, especially online. FRA calls on policymakers to urgently address these immediate challenges and put in place lasting structures to fight deep-rooted prejudice and discrimination.
"The Coronavirus does not discriminate, but the measures to contain it do. Facing stricter lockdown, poor welfare support and limited access to online learning, many Roma and Travellers communities have been ravaged by the pandemic. Member States need to tackle these challenges, strengthen social inclusion and involve Roma and Travellers themselves – both during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond," says FRA's Director Michael O'Flaherty.
FRA’s latest bulletin “Coronavirus pandemic in the EU – Impact on Roma and Travellers” documents the main challenges:
FRA calls on Member States to implement inclusion measures recommended since 2013 by the Council of the European Union. In particular, FRA stresses that:
FRA’s new Roma & Travellers survey shows that a quarter of Roma and Travellers in Western Europe could not afford basic items, such as heating or healthy food already before the pandemic. They also face rampant discrimination and harassment in their everyday lives.
The EU will soon release its new ‘EU Roma Strategic Framework for Equality, Inclusion and Participation’. It aims to find a way forward and address the challenges Roma and Travellers face in the EU.
This bulletin documents the situation of Roma and Travellers in 15 EU Member States between 1 March to 30 June 2020.