On the occasion of International Roma Day, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Ms. Marija Pejčinović Burić and the European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli have released a joint-statement calling for protection of Roma’s rights and ensuring their access to vital services amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The document points out to the social exclusion, poverty and discrimination often suffered by Roma people and note that such attitudes could be especially harmful in time of global health crisis. The two officials call on governments to take all measures they deem necessary to tackle the spread of COVID but to do so while also respecting the existing European human rights framework, including the principles of equality and non-discrimination. They urge national authorities to ensure equal access to the provision of public services, which in times of a pandemic also includes the provision of food, clean water, as well as basic means of hygiene and health protection.

In conclusion, Commissioner Dalli is quoted as saying that the coronavirus pandemic is a reminder that Europeans need to stand up for each other to survive such unprecedented threat to our health and life as we know it.

To read the full text of the statement, please visit the Council of Europe’s website.