Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Roaming Roma? (2)



Nicola Sturgeon has been drawn into the nonsense claim  that 50% of the Glasgow's Roma population has fled the city during the Coronavirus lockdown.

The issue was raised during yesterday's Covid-19 press briefing although the First Minister, wisely, did not get into the details of how it would be possible for hundreds of people to cross several European countries which have banned travel because of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

I worked on a major project involving Roma communities in Slovakia in years gone by and my experience tells me that the situation in Glasgow can only be made worse by irresponsible claims that half the local population has 'fled' the city during an unprecedented national health emergency.   

 



"Love, kindness and solidarity": Nicola Sturgeon responds to concerns of Govanhill's Roma

By Catriona Stewart - Glasgow Times

"Love, kindness and solidarity": Nicola Sturgeon responds to concerns of Govanhill's Roma

NICOLA Sturgeon has responded to claims parts of Govanhill's Roma community are leaving the area due to social media rumours.

The First Minister said racism and prejudice are "unacceptable" during the
coronavirus crisis and called for people to "pull together and support each other".
Ms Sturgeon was questioned during the Scottish Government's daily COVID-19 press briefing following a statement from local Roma advocacy group Romano Lav.

Speaking in Saturday's Glasgow Times, chairman Davie Donaldson said up to 50 per cent of the Romanian Roma residents of Govanhill had returned to mainland Europe.

READ MORE: Concern after Covid-19 rumours affect Govanhill's Roma

The moves followed a string of claims on social media that Roma people in the are were breaking social distancing rules - but the images being shared were shown to come from other parts of the UK.

Ms Sturgeon said: "I know Govanhill, where the majority of our Roma population live, very well indeed - it’s part of my constituency, it’s where my constituency office is.

"I have seen and heard some of concerns that have been expressed over recent weeks.

"I know examples of pictures, alleging something in Govanhill, turned out to be other parts of UK.

"I would say two things. I know my office has a regular ongoing dialogue with the police about these issues.

"Firstly, the rules on social distancing and isolation apply for everybody and must be adhered to by everybody.

"Secondly, racism and prejudice and trying to stigmatise anybody from any group is as unacceptable during a crisis like this as it is during any other time."

In a statement given to the Glasgow Times, Mr Donaldson had said: "Last week several photographs claiming to be of local Roma people breaching social distancing rules appeared on social media.

"It was evidenced that these photographs were from other cities and taken before the lockdown started.

"However, these images have created a tense and racialised atmosphere where Govanhill’s Roma communities are placed unfairly under the spotlight regarding social distancing.

"The photograph that has appeared today, April 10, 2020, on social media and [in the press] relates to a small family funeral gathering for a member of the community who has died.

"We are appalled that, rather than sympathy, Roma people are being attacked at a time when they are losing loved ones."

Govanhill has the second largest Roma population in the UK and the largest in Scotland, with Roma people from several mainland European countries and of various religions.

Roma groups have been established in the community for well over a decade.

Ms Sturgeon said people must remember the values of "kindness, love and solidarity".

She said: "I don’t want to see anybody feel unsafe or unwelcome in Scotland.

"I think we will handle this emergency crisis situation better, and I think in the main we are handling it well, by coming together and trying to support each other.

"These are tough times for everybody and people’s tempers fray and people’s frustration rise and all of us understand that, but we all just need to remember that people experience these restrictions differently because of different circumstances and I don’t think it’s helpful to ignore that.

"But ultimately pulling together and supporting each other through this, even as we have to stay physically separate, will help us get through this much more strongly.

"That applies in Govanhill, it applies in every single community across the country.

"I would appeal to people to just remember that the principles and the values of kindness, love and solidarity that we've spoken about so often are the ones that I think we need to make sure we apply to others as we would want them to apply to ourselves."

READ MORE: Roma communities 'worst hit by Covid-19', say researchers

In a statement given to the Glasgow Times, Mr Donaldson had said: "Last week several photographs claiming to be of local Roma people breaching social distancing rules appeared on social media.

"It was evidenced that these photographs were from other cities and taken before the lockdown started.

"However, these images have created a tense and racialised atmosphere where Govanhill’s Roma communities are placed unfairly under the spotlight regarding social distancing.

"The photograph that has appeared today, April 10, 2020, on social media and [in the press] relates to a small family funeral gathering for a member of the community who has died.

"We are appalled that, rather than sympathy, Roma people are being attacked at a time when they are losing loved ones."

Govanhill has the second largest Roma population in the UK and the largest in Scotland, with Roma people from several mainland European countries and of various religions.

Roma groups have been established in the community for well over a decade.

Ms Sturgeon said people must remember the values of "kindness, love and solidarity".

She said: "I don’t want to see anybody feel unsafe or unwelcome in Scotland.

"I think we will handle this emergency crisis situation better, and I think in the main we are handling it well, by coming together and trying to support each other.

"These are tough times for everybody and people’s tempers fray and people’s frustration rise and all of us understand that, but we all just need to remember that people experience these restrictions differently because of different circumstances and I don’t think it’s helpful to ignore that.

"But ultimately pulling together and supporting each other through this, even as we have to stay physically separate, will help us get through this much more strongly.

"That applies in Govanhill, it applies in every single community across the country.

"I would appeal to people to just remember that the principles and the values of kindness, love and solidarity that we've spoken about so often are the ones that I think we need to make sure we apply to others as we would want them to apply to ourselves."

Roaming Roma? (12/04/20)



I have to admit I don't understand this article from the Evening Times because if hundreds of people really had fled Glasgow in recent days, they would be defying the UK's 'lockdown' rules as well as having to cross several European countries which have also banned travel because of the Coronavirus pandemic.  

   


https://www.glasgowtimes.co.uk/news/18373662.claims-50-roma-group-fled-govanhill-false-covid-19-rumours/

Claims 50% of Roma group have fled Govanhill after false Covid-19 rumours

By Catriona Stewart - EveningTimes

Members of the Roma community march to Govanhill to celebrate International Day of the Roma Picture: Jamie Simpson

CHARITY bosses have slammed a backlash against Govanhill's Roma community claiming social media rumours have created a "tense and racialised" atmosphere in the area.

Since social distancing began in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19, images have been shared online claiming to be of Roma people in Govanhill.

These have since been shown to be from other areas of the UK - but charity Romano Lav said the damage has been done.

It is believed up to 50 per cent of the local Romania Roma population have now returned to mainland Europe as they feel under threat from racist abuse.

It is understood that three Govanhill Roma people have recently died, with one being a Roma religious leader and important figure in the community.

A picture of a small family group marking his funeral was shared on social media and in the press.

Davie Donaldson, chairman of Romano Lav, said: "These images have created a tense and racialised atmosphere where Govanhill’s Roma communities are placed unfairly under the spotlight regarding social distancing.

"The most recent photograph relates to a small family funeral gathering for a member of the community who has died.

"We are appalled that, rather than sympathy, Roma people are being attacked at a time when they are losing loved ones."

In Govanhill, Roma families are often housed in cramped accommodation of poor standard.

Overcrowding and poverty mean the community is more vulnerable to the virus than other groups in society.

Davie said: "We understand that as many as 50 per cent of the local Romanian Roma community have now returned to Romania or are in the process of doing so.

"They are relocating because they do not feel safe in Scotland, both from COVID19 or from racialised abuse based on misinformation and prejudice."

Romano Lav sayd many members of the different Roma communities in Govanhill are also key workers, meaning that they are at a higher risk than many other people.

They work in agriculture, supporting food production.

They also work in warehouses and other distribution centres, as well as cleaning hospitals and care homes.

Davie added: "This fact should be appreciated more than it currently is."

With schools being closed due to the pandemic, Roma children are being particularly negatively affected as many do not have access to technology and internet access.

With libraries and schools now closed their education is suffering more than other communities although education services and charities are working to help.