NEWS BRIEFS

Report finds appalling Roma conditions

A UNITED Nations report on the situation of Roma in central Europe compares the minority's living conditions to those of people living in sub-Saharan Africa, and calls for their rights to be guaranteed in practice as well as in theory.

The report, prepared by Andey Ivanov of the UN Development Programme, summarises conditions for Roma in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania. It found that one in two Roma experiences hunger for at least a few days a year and that one in six are hungry on a daily basis. Access to health care and education for the Roma has significantly decreased over the last 10 years, the author notes.

The report also says that unemployment among the Roma in the region ranges from a low of 24 per cent in Romania to a high of 64 per cent in Slovakia, contradicting what Ivanov calls "frequently reported estimates of nearly 100 per cent [Roma unemployment]".

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