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Slovak Roma move to Belgium

ABOUT 40 Slovak citizens, ethnic Roma, have left their homeland for Belgium because the state wasn’t able to provide equal opportunities for them, they claim. They complained about racism and discrimination in Slovakia, saying it was almost impossible for them to find a job because employers deliberately prefer non-Roma, the TASR newswire reported.

ABOUT 40 Slovak citizens, ethnic Roma, have left their homeland for Belgium because the state wasn’t able to provide equal opportunities for them, they claim. They complained about racism and discrimination in Slovakia, saying it was almost impossible for them to find a job because employers deliberately prefer non-Roma, the TASR newswire reported.

The group that left Slovakia mainly consisted of big families from the vicinity of Košice. They left the country in April and May, without having secured accommodation or work in Belgium in advance.

The Belgian authorities ruled that the families weren’t able to take care of themselves without assistance, and they are now sheltered by the Belgian federal organisation that cares for asylum seekers, Fedasil. They get daily vouchers worth €6 to buy food, and have also received housing in Fedasil’s facilities.

“We will provide the help for them that they are entitled to for a necessary period,” Fedasil’s Philippe Buze told TASR. “That is, until the court issues a verdict about their future. It is social, basic assistance. Meanwhile they can request asylum.”

The court’s verdict is expected in mid-September. The Roma already said they are not planning to search for jobs in the near future, due to the language barrier. They say Fedasil promised to pay for a basic language course for them.

"Here in the western countries there is no racism like at home," one of the Roma said as quoted by TASR.

"Here it doesn't matter who seeks a job, they employ everyone."


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