Time Of The Skinheads - Denial and Exclusion Of Roma In Slovakia Cover Image

Time Of The Skinheads - Denial and Exclusion Of Roma In Slovakia
Time Of The Skinheads - Denial and Exclusion Of Roma In Slovakia

Author(s): Claude Cahn, Nidhi Trehan
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: European Roma Rights Center
Keywords: Roma in Slovakia; victims and witnesses of human rights violations; Helsinki Watch Report; human rights situation of Roma in Slovakia; segregation of Romani children

Summary/Abstract: There is no accurate count of the number of Roma in Slovakia, but one estimate by the London-based Rights Group is that there are between 480,000 and 520,000 Roma in Slovakia today,out of a total population of 5.3 million.1 If this is accurate, one in ten Slovak citizens is of Romani background. It would also mean that Slovakia has one of the highest per capita populations of Roma in the world. This report provides an overview of human rights violations against Roma in Slovakia during the years 1993—1996, a period in which the state itself came into existence and began to act as sole competent authority on the territory of the former Czechoslovak Federal Republic. Although several reports on Roma in Slovakia have been published domestically during this period, the primary focus of these reports has been cultural issues, while human rights concerns remained secondary or were left unaddressed.2 The most recent publication on Roma in Slovakia which addressed human rights issues directly was the Helsinki Watch report on Roma in Czechoslovakia, Struggling for Ethnic Identity: Czechoslovakia's Endangered Gypsies, published in 1992.3 The intention of this report is to bring the picture of the human rights situation of Roma in Slovakia up-to-date. The ERRC noted three trends dominating the problematic relations between the Slovak state and Roma. In the first place, competent authorities often deny that the rights of Roma have been violated, even if there is convincing evidence that violations have indeed taken place. Secondly, there are presently exclusionary legal, administrative and social practices which prevent Roma from joining the mainstream of Slovak society and keep them marginalized. Finally, there are long-term historical patterns, daily consciously or unconsciously reenacted, whereby the Slovak state intervenes as caretaker state, effectively demoralizing Roma through paternalism and pressure toward a kind of neutralized conformity. Time of the Skinheads addresses each of these themes. It is important for the reader to note the limitations of this report. The report does not cover the issue of the de facto segregation of Romani children in special schools, a policy which many Romani activists contend is tantamount to cultural genocide. Nor does it thoroughly investigate the issue of chronically high unemployment in Romani communities. It does not report on other issues such as access to health care and exclusion from bars, restaurants, swimming pools, discos, etc. While it does delve into the problems facing Romani families in obtaining adequate housing and permanent residence, it is not an exhaustive study of these complex issues. Finally, the European Roma Rights Center wishes to make clear that this report does not necessarily represent the views of Roma organizations and individuals. The report is based on independent observation, the optical space of which is comparison with international human rights standards.

  • Issue Year: II/1997
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 001-044
  • Page Count: 44
  • Language: English