Many Roma communities in Central and Eastern Europe experience systematic environmental racism, which pushes them out into marginal and polluted lands and neighbourhoods, and deprives them of access to basic environmental services and public utilities.
This is the conclusion of‘Pushed to the Wastelands: Environmental racism against Roma communities in Central and Eastern Europe’, a forthcoming landmark report, which is due out on 8 April 2020.
“People are more familiar with the social, cultural and political discrimination facing Roma communities in Europe. However, few are aware of the environmental racism these communities are confronted with,” explains one of the co-authors of the report, Patrizia Heidegger, the European Environmental Bureau’s Director of Global Policies and Sustainability.
“Having to live and work in degraded wastelands or danger zones where people are denied basic environmental services such as water supply and waste management, has serious consequences for the well-being and health of Roma communities. We need strong European responses to make this end.”
In times of the COVID-19 pandemic, inequality and exclusion, in particular the exposure to poor environments, can exacerbate rates of transmission.“Roma communities living in segregated settlements or neighbourhoods with limited access to clean water and adequate sanitation are already more vulnerable to diseases,” say Katy Wiese from the EEB, co-author of the report.
“On top of that, early media reports now indicate measures ostensibly aimed at stopping the coronavirus from spreading are targeting Roma communities, such as checkpoints around Roma ghettos or surveillance of communities with drones.”
Virtual launch – Wednesday 8 April 2020
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that have accompanied it,‘Pushed to the Wastelands’ will be launched remotely, via videoconferencing.
The launch and a workshop will be hosted on Zoom on Wednesday 8 April 2020. If you would like to participate please register here by 2 April 2020. We will send out the links to join the meeting to all registered participants ahead of the event.