Statement by Romano Lav Chairman Davie Donaldson, 12 April 2020:
“Romano Lav are deeply concerned regarding press reports involving our communities in Govanhill. 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 on Friday, April 10, 2020, on social media and in The Scottish Sun 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.
We would like to point out the following facts:
- As has been pointed out elsewhere, the poorest and most marginalised communities are hardest hit by COVID19. In Govanhill, Roma communities are often housed in poor standard and cramped accommodation, with overcrowding an issue that makes them more vulnerable to the virus than other more advantaged groups in society.
- 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, so that we can continue to get food in our supermarkets. They also work in warehouses and other distribution centres, as well as cleaning our hospitals and our care homes. This fact should be appreciated more than it currently is.
- Roma children are losing out 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.
- We understand that as many as 50% 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 is a charity organisation challenging discrimination and promoting equality for the Roma people in Scotland. Visit the Romano Lav Facebook page.
Claims 50% of Roma group have fled Govanhill after false Covid-19 rumours - Glasgow Times, 11 April 2020