HKS Authors

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Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, HSPH; Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer in Law, HLS


This chapter discusses the historically entrenched practice of minority scapegoating during epidemics, exemplified by the return of anti-Roma racism as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It begins by explaining the legacy of discrimination, bias, rejection, and exclusion experienced by the Romani people on which the present-day racism is built. It then addresses a need to acknowledge these challenges, arguing that a failure to promptly attend to them will increase the risk of atrocities, violence, and hate crimes against the Roma. This chapter concludes with a plea to governments and intergovernmental organizations to craft anti-racist, humane, and protective measures in response to the pandemic, which recognize and address the legacy of structural inequalities and cater to the racialized vulnerability they have generated.


Matache, Margareta, Jennifer Leaning, and Jacqueline Bhabha. "Hatred against Roma in times of pandemic." Public Health, Mental Health, And Mass Atrocity Prevention. Ed. Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum, Caitlin O. Mahoney, Amy E. Meade, and Arlan F. Fuller. Routledge, 2021.