The COVID19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities for Travellers and Roma – but has also created opportunities to address inequalities – Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre reported to a meeting of  European ngos hosted by the Fundamental Rights Platform this week.

Ronnie Fay, Pavee Point Co Directo ©Photo by Derek Speirs

Ronnie Fay, Pavee Point Co Director spoke at the meeting “Human rights work in challenging times – ways forward” of ways of working with the state and civil servants and Traveller and Roma organisations that met some success during the pandemic.

Participating in emergency COVID19  related forums enabled measures to help mitigate against COVID in the Traveller and Roma communities.

Examples include government regulations for local authorities to provide sanitation on both official and unofficial sites, isolation facilities for Travellers and Roma, moratorium on evictions during COVID-19 and Traveller and Roma participation in the  design and  delivery of frontline services including testing and, it is hoped, vaccination.

“All of this was possible because of ongoing relations, hard work and strong NGOs who could engage and seek human rights,” said Ms. Fay.

Martin Collins, Pavee Point Co Director, outlined Pavee Point’s ongoing commitment to community development as fundamental to realising human rights as well as recognising racism as a key and entrenched barrier to human rights.

Martin Collins, Pavee Point Co Director.

The work for the next period is to make sure that collaborative work continues to improve living conditions and protect the human rights of Travellers and Roma.

NGOS agreed, at the meeting, that the human rights of Travellers and Roma need to be protected in all Resilience and Recovery Strategies and that urgent interventions from FRA and the European  Commission are needed to ensure member states collect  and use ethnic data across administrative systems.