International Roma Day marked by controversy in Slovakia

Amnesty International (AI) blasted Deputy Premier for Minorities Dušan Čaplovič and Education Minister Ján Mikolaj for keeping Roma children in segregated classrooms and special schools and for working towards the setting-up of separate schools for the minority on International Roma Day on April 8, as reported by the TASR newswire. The global human rights watchdog urged both government officials to publicly admit that the above practices have been ongoing for a long time in Slovakia and that this calls for the educational system to be overhauled. AI described the findings of research into Roma education as alarming. It noted that no more than 3 percent of Roma pupils successfully complete secondary-school education and that Roma youngsters make up 60 percent of the pupils attending schools for children with special needs. Čaplovič gave assurance of the government's support for this ethnic community and its development via a variety of programmes relating to health care, education, culture and other social areas. The Roma form the second-largest minority in Slovakia after ethnic Hungarians. Official data indicating that the Roma make up 1.9 percent of Slovakia's 5.4 million is thought to be inaccurate, with the real figure said to be much higher.

Amnesty International (AI) blasted Deputy Premier for Minorities Dušan Čaplovič and Education Minister Ján Mikolaj for keeping Roma children in segregated classrooms and special schools and for working towards the setting-up of separate schools for the minority on International Roma Day on April 8, as reported by the TASR newswire. The global human rights watchdog urged both government officials to publicly admit that the above practices have been ongoing for a long time in Slovakia and that this calls for the educational system to be overhauled.

AI described the findings of research into Roma education as alarming. It noted that no more than 3 percent of Roma pupils successfully complete secondary-school education and that Roma youngsters make up 60 percent of the pupils attending schools for children with special needs.

Čaplovič gave assurance of the government's support for this ethnic community and its development via a variety of programmes relating to health care, education, culture and other social areas. The Roma form the second-largest minority in Slovakia after ethnic Hungarians. Official data indicating that the Roma make up 1.9 percent of Slovakia's 5.4 million is thought to be inaccurate, with the real figure said to be much higher.

The Slovak National Party (SNS) demands a stricter approach towards Roma criminality, party leader Ján Slota told TASR. "The law needs to be strictly enforced also when it comes to this ethnic group. And I don't want to point only to members of this group but also to anti-social elements as such," said Slota.

Slota said SNS will promote social benefits for the Roma in the form of goods to prevent them from drinking the money away within days. It also wants to boost police patrols in areas inhabited by the Roma. "Why shouldn't the payment of social benefits be conditioned by 30 hours of public work? They could begin by tidying up the mess (in which they live). Let them humanise their own environment," said Slota, adding that they are currently completely lethargic. SNS caucus leader Rafael Rafaj weighed in by suggesting that irresponsible sexual behaviour and incest are common in Roma settlements.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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