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Government performs poorly with Roma policies, say NGOs

IN THEIR public statements on the Roma, Slovak politicians usually engage in excluding the Roma communities from the majority population and accusing the minority of being responsible for problems faced by the nation, a recent study released by Milan Šimečka Foundation (NMŠ) states.

IN THEIR public statements on the Roma, Slovak politicians usually engage in excluding the Roma communities from the majority population and accusing the minority of being responsible for problems faced by the nation, a recent study released by Milan Šimečka Foundation (NMŠ) states.

The document, entitled 'Roma in Public Policies', aims to assess Prime Minister Robert Fico's Government's first year in office in terms of its agenda on addressing the issues plaguing the Roma community.

Experts in the study evaluated public appearances of senior government politicians as very poor, citing as an example a recent statement of Fico in which he suggested that Slovakia’s unemployment rate is high due to the jobless Roma.

NMŠ director Laco Oravec said that what has been heard coming from top state representatives currently can form a "collection of probably the most xenophobic statements".

The study is based on a survey in which NMŠ approached nearly 50 specialists on Roma issues. The analysis was then drafted based on the responses of nine experts. The government received a grade of 3.62 (on a scale of 1-excellent to 5-fail), which can be seen as rather negative.

The government’s plenipotentiary for Roma communities, Peter Pollák, dismissed the report as biased.

"Only a narrow group of NGO representatives participated in the experts poll and the subsequent drafting of the document that evaluated the government's activities regarding the Roma issue,” Pollák told TASR. “The organisations with direct involvement in Roma communities, however, were represented in the report only to a minimum degree."

Pollák said the report is based on second-hand, mediated information rather than on practical knowledge from the field, and it does not take into consideration the activities and the government's programmes carried out in the given time period.

"These are programmes reflecting real needs, such as the improvement in the pre-school preparation of children, the building of modular schools or the project of Roma civic patrols," said Pollák, adding that he will not let the prepared or implemented measures be influenced by xenophobic or racist opinions.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
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