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Roma communities mapped

OVER 400,000 Roma live in Slovakia, with almost half of them dispersed among the majority inhabitants, according to the Atlas of Roma Communities, which is being prepared by the UNDP Bratislava regional centre, the SITA newswire reported.

OVER 400,000 Roma live in Slovakia, with almost half of them dispersed among the majority inhabitants, according to the Atlas of Roma Communities, which is being prepared by the UNDP Bratislava regional centre, the SITA newswire reported.

The UNDP is planning to present the complete Atlas to the public in the last quarter of 2013, but it has agreed for Slovakia’s government’s proxy for Roma communities to publish some partial results.
The overall number of Roma in Slovakia according to the Atlas is 402,840, which represents 7.45 percent of the country’s inhabitants.

Of all the Roma communities in Slovakia, those that receive media attention most frequently are settlements steeped in poverty and social exclusion. The UNDP survey results show that 46.5 percent of all Roma living in Slovakia - 187,285 - live spread out among the majority.

According to the Atlas, some 52,000 Roma live within municipalities, while almost 96,000 Roma live in urban concentrations on the edge of municipalities, SITA wrote. Another 68,540 Roma inhabit segregated settlements outside municipalities, while the average distance of a segregated community from the municipal unit is 900 metres, according to the Atlas, as reported by SITA.

As for regional divisions, Banská Bystrica Region has the highest number of Roma inhabitants, with one quarter of all of Slovakia’s Roma living there. The Košice Region follows with 24 percent, while the Žilina Region has the lowest number of Roma: only 2 percent.

The Atlas of Roma Communities is a project of the UNDP Regional Centre in Bratislava, in cooperation with the Association of Towns and Villages of Slovakia (ZMOS), Prešov University, and the Office of the Government’s Plenipotentiary for Roma Communities. The project was financed by the Labour Ministry and the UNDP.

The statistics presented in the Atlas are to be used as a starting point for the government, the local and regional governments, and the UNDP, to promote policies that specifically address the situation of marginalised Roma communities. The results of the survey are also a precondition for meaningful drawing of EU financial aid in the 2014-2020 programming period, for use by towns and villages that are impacted by this issue the most.

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