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Roma and travellers report

Pandemic worsens Roma and Travellers poverty and discrimination

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has issued a new bulletin entitled “Coronavirus pandemic in the EU – Impact on Roma and Travellers”.

This fifth bulletin on Covid-19 in the EU documents the situation of Roma and Travellers in 15 EU Member States between 1 March to 30 June 2020, outlining the main challenges Roma and Travellers faced in the times of pandemic and calling on the Member States to implement inclusion measures recommended since 2013 by the Council of the European Union. According to the bulletin, Roma and Travellers face an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and they are disproportionately affected by measures taken to contain the virus.

In the 15 EU Member States covered in this bulletin, lockdowns kept many Roma and Travellers from working as street vendors and travelling traders, and from engaging in diverse forms of precarious work. They have also faced difficulties in claiming support and benefits available to workers in the formal labour market. As a result, poverty is on the rise – and the real risk of hunger looms.

Meanwhile, limited access to water, electricity and sanitation creates serious health concerns – which are exacerbated by various barriers to accessing health services. The lack of basic infrastructure is an issue for entire communities, but the younger generation faces another hurdle: without internet access and appropriate IT equipment, they risk falling even further behind at school.

FRA calls on policymakers to urgently address these immediate challenges and put in place lasting structures to fight deep-rooted prejudice and discrimination.

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) provides independent, evidence-based advice to EU and national decision makers, thereby helping to make debates, policies and legislation on fundamental rights better informed and targeted.