Roma Rights 1, 2001: Access to Justice

Recently, we lost a case. The circumstances are as follows: as I write, a group of around twenty-five Roma are living in shanties by the side of a road in the village of Cabiny, northern Slovakia. They have been homeless for more than ten years, but all have legal residence in one of two neighbouring villages. They previously lived in housing provided on a co-operative farm where they worked, but when the farm was broken up and partly sold in 1990, the housing units were closed and the Roma evicted. Anti-Romani sentiment is very high in the area, and the town councils of both villages adopted bans on the entry of Roma to the villages in 1997. As a result of ERRC action, the bans were rescinded, but neither municipality made any effort to house the group. Local officials have refused even to consider applications for housing from the Roma.

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