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IOM: Origin and religion key to treatment of foreigners in Slovakia

More than 6 percent of non-EU foreigners living in Slovakia, mainly those originating from Africa and/or Muslims, have had some experience with physical violence because they are different, according to a survey carried out by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The survey, presented on March 21, also stated that 11 percent of foreigners – and as many as 31 percent of Ukrainians – say they have experienced forced labour.

More than 6 percent of non-EU foreigners living in Slovakia, mainly those originating from Africa and/or Muslims, have had some experience with physical violence because they are different, according to a survey carried out by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The survey, presented on March 21, also stated that 11 percent of foreigners – and as many as 31 percent of Ukrainians – say they have experienced forced labour.

"As a key problem we identified the social isolation of migrants – be they individuals or communities – mainly from formal institutions. This means that when facing problems, but also in everyday situations, migrants tend to approach informal sources which might lead to further abuses, mainly when it comes to the most vulnerable," said Matej Blažek, one of the authors of the survey, as quoted by the TASR newswire. Among the most vulnerable groups are migrants from Ukraine, along with those from Vietnam, China and women from Thailand.

Two-thirds of the foreigners approached said that they felt secure in Slovakia, but when it came to migrants from East and South-East Asia, the figure was less than 50 percent. While Ukrainians are often mistreated in terms of forced labour, Muslims and Africans claimed to have been subject to verbal abuse and physical attacks. As many as 23 percent of Muslims and 32 percent of Africans said that they had suffered violence. Only 46 percent of foreigners in Slovakia thought that they had the same rights as locals, while only 38 percent believed that they enjoyed equal opportunities. Around 20,000 people from outside the European Union are currently living in Slovakia. Roughly 700 of them filled in the questionnaire, of whom 90 underwent detailed interviews.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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