According to a report released by the human rights organization Wednesday, minority communities across the continent have been “targeted with violence, discriminatory identity checks, forced quarantines and fines” by local authorities, in relation to new coronavirus-related legislation.
“This report highlights systemic human rights concerns regarding institutional racism, discrimination in law enforcement and lack of accountability regarding allegations of unlawful use of force by law enforcement officials,” Amnesty said.
“The implementation of the lockdown measures to combat the pandemic has laid bare existing structural inequalities and discrimination on grounds of ethnicity, race, migration and socio-economic status. In some cases, the enforcement of lockdown measures has led to further marginalization, stigmatization and violence,” the report added.
The study, which covers 12 countries across Europe, documents several cases in which law enforcement officials reportedly “resorted to the unlawful use of force” to implement lockdown legislation, often occurring in the context of police identity checks.
According to Amnesty’s findings, members of the Roma community living in informal settlements, and refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants living in camps, have experienced a “disproportionate and discriminatory” implementation of lockdown measures.
“Informal settlements and migrant camps in countries such as Bulgaria, France and Slovakia have been heavily policed, including the deployment of the army, and subject to mandatory testing. In several instances, Amnesty International obtained information about the unlawful use of force by law enforcement officials against the residents,” the report says.
“Instead of ensuring adequate access to water and sanitation and the alternative accommodation necessary to enable people to comply with recommended individual quarantine measures, the authorities in some countries have imposed mandatory quarantines on entire settlements,” Amnesty added.