MPs on Thursday observed a minute of silence to commemorate Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, a move proposed by MP Peter Pollák (Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO)), the only representative of the Roma minority in parliament. Roma Holocaust Memorial Day marks the events of the night of August 2, 1944, at the Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland, when approximately 2,900 Roma men, women and children were sent to their deaths. According to the TASR newswire, Pollák asked MPs to search for responsible measures that would improve the situation of the Roma minority in Slovakia.
The Hospodárske Noviny (HN) daily wrote on August 3 that Pollák also proposed – together with other party colleagues – a solution to the stalemate situation with the land on which illegal Roma settlements have been built. In his plan, the state would buy the land from its current owners and then offer it to Roma for purchase. If Roma agreed, they would be allowed to pay for the land in instalments. The proposal's co-author, OĽaNO MP Miroslav Kadúc, further proposes expropriation of land if current owners do not agree to sell.
OĽaNO had earlier shared the draft with the governing Smer party which, according to HN, received it favourably. A top Smer official reportedly admitted that OĽaNO and Smer could table the proposal jointly. However, the idea has opponents even within OĽaNO itself, such as MP Alojz Hlina, who fears that land-owners would ask for excessive amounts, which would lead to expropriation. So far it is not clear, however, where the state would get the money to implement the proposed law.
Sources: TASR, Hospodárske Noviny
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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