Slovakia creates a pure Romani ghetto
07 November 2001
According to an article appearing in the Slovak daily Vychodoslovenske noviny, the last non-Romani family dwelling in the Lunik IX housing estate, in the eastern Slovak city of Kosice, moved away from the housing estate, leaving Lunik IX an absolutely pure ghetto of more than four thousand Roma. In 1995, in the course of an urban renewal project, the city of Kosice approved a resolution designating Lunik IX as a housing estate for the "socially problematic"; it was a public secret that the city intended Lunik IX as a Romani ghetto. A 1997 decision authorising construction of flats in Lunik IX, and signed by several local authorities, is explicitly titled "Flats for Roma - Small-Sized, Substandard Flats". During the course of the next several years, municipal authorities gutted nearly all of a series of smaller Romani settlements around the city and relocated the Roma living there to Lunik IX. Today there is one remaining Romani settlement in downtown Kosice and it, too, is threatened with demolition, its inhabitants slated for flats in Lunik IX. At the same time, non-Roma living in Lunik IX have been preferentially moved out of the settlement and rehoused elsewhere. On October 8, 2001, according to Vychodoslovenske noviny, the last such family - Mrs Andrea and Mr Miroslav Spicakovec - moved to a flat in the housing estate Zelezniky, which they had earlier applied for and been granted. In a perverse twist, there have been frequent rumours recently that local authorities may soon begin evicting Roma from Lunik IX, as many of the families forcibly placed there are severely behind in rent payments, and a new Slovak law, in effect from earlier this year, allows the expulsion of such persons from their place of residence.
Lunik IX - Romani ghetto in Kosice, Slovakia.
(ERRC, Vychodoslovenske noviny)