SEVERAL Roma families have left the village of Smižany in eastern Slovakia and are seeking residence in Canada. While residents of the Roma community in Smižany said that up to 200 people have left since the beginning of the year, the labour office in Spišská Nová Ves reported that it knows of only 11 families with children who have done so, the Sme daily reported.
“The departure is apparently the result of the high unemployment,” said Michal Kotrady, the mayor of Smižany, as quoted by Sme, adding that the state should do something about the conditions that are forcing Roma to leave.
“It is not a good reputation for Slovakia,” the mayor stated, as quoted by Sme.
Róbert Mika, another politician in Smižany said he is not surprised by the departure of the Roma residents, adding that many people are jobless and the state only gives them a handout.
“And then someone like [Ján] Slota [chair of the Slovak National Party] hangs out billboards [saying] that Slovaks have to pay for Roma,” Mika stated, as quoted by Sme.
Mika added that he doubts that a particular person organised this emigration of the Roma families.