The Secretary-General of the European Commission Maria Pechinovich Bridge warned on Tuesday that Roma people are particularly affected by the coronavirus pandemic and called for acceptance of the history of the Roma community and solutions to their current problems.
The European Commission Against Racism (ECRI) emphasized in its March annual report that the Roma are particularly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
ECRI warned that they live in overcrowded communities and it is difficult to maintain sanitation and physical space. Many Roma children cannot participate in distance learning because they do not have computers and the Internet.
However, the European Commission welcomes measures such as free electricity, water and internet that some European countries have adopted for the Roma community during the shutdown.
On the occasion of International Roma Day on April 8, Pejčinović Burić announced: “A community that fully understands its history and culture is more likely to look forward to the present and the future with confidence.”
She said: “The young Roma are committed to building national and international organizations and networks, and are the first to establish contacts with others in our member states, and encourage all of us to recognize and remember the massacre of the Roma and the Roma. Victims of resistance, this left a deep impression on her.”
However, the European Commission warned of continued collective stigmatization of Roma, harassment of Roma children in schools, and discrimination against Roma adults in the labor market or seeking medical care. It added that many Roma families live in slums, thousands of European Roma have no nationality, and many do not have personal documents to prove their identity.
Pecsinovich Bridge said in a statement: “We must understand that prejudice and hate speech against Roma and nomads fuels xenophobia.”
He added that by accepting history and solving current problems, “we can expect European Roma and nomads, and thus a bright future for the whole of Europe.”
This year’s International Roma Day marks the 50th anniversary of the first World Roma Congress held in the United Kingdom in 1971, and it is also a symbol of the Roma movement’s pursuit of equality and identity.