The paper provides an overview of the potential interconnection of race and ethnicity, and sui generis vulnerability for the COVID-pandemic. The paper begins with outlining the social science context of the inquiry. The points of reference include conceptualizing and operationalizing race, ethnicity and membership in national groups/communities, in particular in the field of medicine. Following this, I turn to mapping out four distinct ways in how the virus may effect certain groups incommensurately and lead to systemic and institutional discrimination. This is followed by showing how Roma have been targeted by populist political rhetoric and securitizing law enforcement in lieu of the pandemic in Hungary.
Using the Roma in Hungary as a case study and example, the panel provides presents empirical research as well as a theoretical discussion on the constitutional implications of the interrelation of race, ethnicity, and vulnerability under the pandemic. One empirical research focuses on how the pandemic had changed the contours, morphology and substance of access to justice for members of vulnerable communities. Another on how COVID-19 affected the educational and labor market perspectives of Roma in the light of Constitutional Court practice on school segregation. Discussions will be framed by a larger research project (which all panelists are members of) on how constitutional law conceptualizes and operationalizes race, ethnicity and membership in national groups/communities, in particular in the field of medicine.
The paper aims to outline the life-long effects of segregation in education. The first part analyses the Hungarian Constitutional Court's decisions related to inter-school segregation. The second part reviews the result of a case study regarding Roma people working in public work scheme in Hungary. It analyses the legal framework of public work in Hungary then introduces the empirical research on the public employment of Roma people. The study relies on a range of Hungarian and international academic and policy sources in tandem with purposedly designed interviews. The third part elaborates how COVID-19 affected the educational and labour market perspectives of Roma, considering that even before the pandemic the at-risk-of-poverty rate for Roma was almost five times higher than for non-Roma and two-thirds of Roma suffer from severe material deprivation.