Slovak Romani Ghetto to Become Economically Segregated
20 November 2007
In early April 2007, the city of Kosice announced plans to economically segregate the Lunik IX district, according to the Slovakia newspaper The Slovak Spectator. Lunik IX is a suburb of Kosice which houses some 5,500 Roma in state-owned apartments. In recent years Lunik IX has become a segregated Romani community as a result of specific interventions by the local government to remove non-Roma from the area. Currently, the unemployment rate in Lunik IX is nearly 100 percent and, as a result, most tenants are unable to pay water, gas, or electricity bills.
The city thus improvised a plan to provide better housing to those residents who are able to pay for housing and utilities, a plan which, according to City Council spokesman Tibor Ico, fulfils the town's "duty to the residents who honestly fulfil their commitments," and at the same time supposedly encourages those "whose debts are constantly rising" in the "demotivating" atmosphere of their current living situation to get out of debt.
The town plans to segregate the community into three economically determined groups, depending on their dept and employment status. Evictions of some are reported to be inevitable. Several residents complained that they were unable to partake in the decision-making process of the city council, The Slovak Spectator reported.
Many residents fear an imminent "war" in the ghetto as a result of the massive changes proposed to take place.
(ERRC, Slovak Spectator)