Today is International Roma Day
This year people all over the world are facing challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening our health and making us deal with restrictions that create different risks.
In Ukraine, as in many other countries of the world, Roma people often face discrimination, suffer from stereotypes and social exclusion.
The persistent practices of discrimination and exclusion make many Roma families particularly vulnerable in the current crisis, without adequate access to healthcare, water, livelihoods, food and education. Many Roma have no opportunity to sign agreements with family doctors, mainly due to their lack of an identity document, which also impedes their access to social security. Ambulances often refuse to take cases from Roma settlements which significantly exacerbates their already insufficient access to healthcare. Segregation in specific ‘Roma’ wards in maternity houses risks additional discrimination and exclusion.
While Roma women and men often work in seasonal or temporary jobs, or deliver services in local markets or small enterprises, now their work places have been closed down and their income reduced. Roma women face intersecting forms of discrimination, including gender based violence, which deepens their vulnerability to the crisis situation. With the closure of schools, many Roma children have been left without education, due to a lack of access to computers and internet.
‘’Let us take this day to remember: while the pandemic affects us all as human beings, for some segments of Ukrainian society, including Roma women, men and children, the threat to life and survival are excessively high;’’ says Osnat Lubrani, United Nations Resident Coordinator. ‘’Ensuring equal rights for all has always been one of the core UN priorities – “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” reads Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;’’ Osnat Lubrani concludes.
In these hard times, we need to remember to #LeaveNoOneBehind!
We call on the authorities to:
We wish that we can all celebrate this holiday next year in a world without pandemic, without discrimination and without social exclusion!