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UN survey: Islands of deep poverty among Roma

ALMOST 300,000 Slovak Roma live in poverty and are dependent on state and municipal aid or charity, according to a survey by United Nations experts.

The unemployment rate among the Roma is as high as 90 percent, with the worst situation found in isolated Roma settlements.

"Amidst a relatively rich society we discovered islands of deep poverty," said Ben Slay from the UN Development Program (UNDP) regional centre in Bratislava.

Almost three quarters of Roma households depend on social welfare. As much as 86 percent of Roma able to work remain without a job, according to Labour Bureau records, but most are long-term unemployed, and as a result of cuts to welfare payments under the previous government, their poverty is deepening.

The UN experts recommended that when approving state orders, projects that create jobs for unemployed Roma be given priority, the Pravda daily wrote.

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