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Publication date: 22 September 2020

Video blog Michael O'Flaherty: Covid-19 and Roma children (140.93 MB)

Often in these monthly videos I have spoken about the situation of the Roma community. 6 million people, the EU’s largest minority, suffering shocking figures in terms of harassment, discrimination and exclusion.

As you can imagine, Covid-19 has been devastating for the Roma community. We describe the situation in a bulletin that we at the Fundamental Rights Agency will publish on the 29th of September. Our bulletin number 5 on Covid and fundamental rights.

We describe a perfect storm. Housing and shelter, how do you distance yourself when you are living on top of each other? How do you keep your hands clean when you don’t have running water? How do you get educated when you can’t get to school and you don’t have internet access? How do you bring food home when you haven’t got a job and don’t have access to social welfare?

It is hard to know where to begin in response. And I applaud the decent efforts of authorities in a number of places.

But let’s focus. Today I’d say, focus on children. Roma children are in danger of losing almost a whole year of schooling. It’s like losing a generation. It’s robbing children of the one place where they can have hope and dream the same dreams of every other child.

So let’s work with Roma children for Roma children to figure our way out of this crisis.