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Local authorities have a duty of care for Roma communities vulnerable to the pandemic

International Roma Day Strasbourg, France 8 April 2020
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Local authorities have a duty of care for Roma communities vulnerable to the pandemic

This year's International Roma Day has come at a time when the world is facing a major public health challenge due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “In times of public health crises such as the one we are going through today, inequalities increase risk for Roma communities” stated Congress rapporteur on Roma and Travellers, John Warmisham (United Kingdom, SOC/G/PD), on 8 April 2020, on the occasion of the Roma Day.

“The Roma who live in settlements and who have difficulty accessing healthcare and sanitation are vulnerable. They need the help of local governments to access support services and to protect them against racist attacks” he noted.  

The Congress promotes the Declaration against anti-Gypsyism, which allows local and regional elected representatives to take a stand against discrimination against Roma. To date, it has been signed by 122 local and regional elected officials from 34 countries.  It also awards the "Dosta! Congress Prize" every two years to three municipalities from the Council of Europe member states which have implemented initiatives to integrate Roma in the long term. 


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