Slovak Local Council Cancels Romani Housing Project

29 October 2003

Ms Agnes Uličná, Mayor of Svinia, informed the ERRC, in partnership with the Košice-based Slovak Roma Press Agency (SRPA) that, as per its Resolution 34/2003, the local council of the village of Svinia in eastern Slovakia, as of April 1, 2003, cancelled its co-operation with the non-governmental organisation Habitat for Humanity and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), in a project that would have realised housing for Roma in the area. Mayor Uličná stated that the village council decided to terminate the 4-year-old arrangement due to the inability of the village to fulfil its obligations under the agreement. In March 2003, Mr Alexander Mušinka, the CIDA co-ordinator in Svinia, stated to the ERRC/SRPA that the mayor's letter in which he was informed of the cancellation of co-operation did not include any reasoning for the local council's decision. Mr Mušinka further stated that Habitat for Humanity and CIDA would continue their work in the area regardless. According to Ms Uličná, during the four years that the three groups had been co-operating, not a single house had been built for Roma in Svinia because the local council reportedly did not have any land to offer for the construction of the type of housing envisioned in the project. Habitat for Humanity and CIDA planned to build small, detached homes with small yards, while the local council wanted to construct block apartments.

Mr Mušinka informed the ERRC/SPRA that approximately seven hundred Roma in Svinia live in a settlement just off the main road in highly substandard conditions. Roma in Svinia account for approximately one half of the village's population. Approximately four hundred and twenty Roma in the village are below the age of 18. Their shacks are constructed of clay and are in a severely dilapidated state. There is no electricity, no gas supply and no source of water in the settlement. The unemployment rate among Roma in Svinia is reportedly 100 percent.



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