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Civil Code means evictions

Recent changes to Slovakia's civil code could result in 150,000 new homeless people by spring 2003.

Starting next year, landlords will be permitted to evict tenants who have defaulted on their rent regardless of their circumstances, according to the new law. Activists warn this will result in 150,000 new homeless people by March 2003, 95% of whom will be Roma.

"Parliament has in effect re-legalised a nomadic life for the Roma," said Columbus Igboanusi, chairman of Slovakia's Human Rights League.

Igboanusi added that the eastern Slovak districts of Rimavská Sobota, Brezno and Revúce, where most Roma cannot afford to pay rent on their flats, would see the most evictions.

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