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Slovak Republic Targets Roma Homes as ‘Waste’

20 December 2012

Budapest, 19 December 2012: Slovak authorities are targeting Romani communities for forced evictions under the pretext of environmental law. The European Roma Rights Centre is highlighting the problem with two letters of concern to authorities on a previous and planned forced eviction, which see Roma settlements designated as communal waste.

More than 150 people were evicted from their homes in the district of Nižné Kapustníky (Kosice) on 30 October 2012, including more than 60 children. Their homes were demolished and the Roma were sent by bus to other parts of the country where they are supposedly registered. Media reports suggest that at least 17 were bussed to the village of Rakúsy where they have no residence registration, no one to stay with and were forced to inhabit an empty building. The Mayor subsequently ordered them to leave.

The ERRC understands authorities are also planning to evict around 200 Romani people from the Pod Hrádkom neighbourhood in Prešov, and demolish the three blocks of flats where they live. There is no clear information on what will happen to these people if the eviction goes ahead.

Forced evictions of Roma on environmental grounds are on the rise. More than 400 mayors of towns and villages have signed up to a movement called Zobudme sa! (Let´s wake up!). The movement aspires to coordinate a targeted programme of demolition aimed at Roma settlements by defining them as waste dumps.

The Slovak Republic does not have a moratorium on forced evictions during winter months. Evicting Roma in freezing temperatures and failing to provide adequate alternative accommodation is not acceptable.

The ERRC is calling on the Slovak authorities to assist the Romani people who have already been evicted as a matter of urgency, and to stop any further forced evictions which are not in line with international human rights standards.

The letters are also available in Slovak here (Prešov) and here (Kosice).  

For more information, contact:
Sinan Gökçen
Media and Communications Officer
European Roma Rights Centre

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