From email@example.com Mon Apr 10 20:34:46 EDT 2000 Article: 233579 of soc.culture.canada Path: hub.org!hub.org!newsfeed.torontointernetxchange.net!newsfeed.direct.ca!brick.direct.ca!quark.idirect.com.POSTED!not-for-mail From: "Creative Intelligence Agency"
Newsgroups: soc.culture.magyar,soc.culture.polish,soc.culture.czecho-slovak,soc.culture.canada,soc.culture.british,soc.culture.usa Subject: The Gypsies of Slovakia: Despised and Despairing Lines: 174 Organization: Peoples Republic of Poetry X-Priority: 3 X-MSMail-Priority: Normal X-Newsreader: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2615.200 X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V5.00.2615.200 Message-ID: Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 21:58:59 GMT NNTP-Posting-Host: 188.8.131.52 X-Complaints-To: firstname.lastname@example.org X-Trace: quark.idirect.com 955403939 184.108.40.206 (Mon, 10 Apr 2000 17:58:59 EDT) NNTP-Posting-Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 17:58:59 EDT Xref: hub.org soc.culture.magyar:70458 soc.culture.polish:224502 soc.culture.czecho-slovak:67205 soc.culture.canada:233579 soc.culture.british:467018 soc.culture.usa:484372 The Gypsies of Slovakia: Despised and Despairing 04/03/2000 The New York Times Page 10, Column 1 Foreign Desk; Section A By STEVEN ERLANGER RUDNANY, Slovakia -- Darina Horvathova, 23, lives with her baby on the crumbling remains of an abandoned iron and mercury mine, without a husband, a job or indoor plumbing. The soil, under the mounds of uncollected trash, is known to be contaminated. But 500 Gypsies , or Roma as they are also known, live here in sickness and squalor in the shadow of a factory shut down when Communism died. The factory itself is now nothing but a broken concrete shell, having been dismantled for construction materials by the people here. Some live in wooden sheds; some in crumbling, filthy structures built for mineworkers in 1918. There is one water tap for the whole settlement, no toilets and not a single garbage container. ''The government doesn't care about us at all,'' said Miss Horvathova, standing in a path of oily mud and trash. ''They could put down some pebbles or pick up the garbage,'' she said. ''Anything you put on is dirty immediately. Is this life?'' Cyril and Petr Horvath, 26 and 23, both went to school, and Cyril trained as a bricklayer. But neither has a job. In fact, no Gypsy here has a regular job. ''We want to work, but there is no work,'' said Cyril Horvath. ''When you show up, they take one look at you, and that's it. They take only whites.'' Worsening conditions for Gypsies throughout Eastern Europe have caused thousands to try to emigrate, quickly wearing out any welcome from Western Europe. Their flight has created new pressure, most recently in Britain, to tighten visa, immigration and asylum rules to keep them out. Alojz Dunka, 58, is the unofficial aprilor of this settlement on the outskirts of Rudnany, a town about seven miles east of Spisska Nova Ves, in the mountains of north-east Slovakia. He worked at the mine, which was shut down in 1992. ''It was much better under Communism,'' he said. ''Even with discrimination, it was possible to live. Democracy has brought us nothing but crisis.'' Mr. Dunka, a widower still too young to get a pension, now lives on a state subsidy of 1,600 crowns a month, or $40. ''I haven't bought a new shirt in years,'' he said, fingering the greasy, unravelling collar of the one he wore. ''A new shirt costs 400 crowns. Try living on 1,600 crowns.'' His deputy, Stefan Ziga, 42, said: ''People tell us we live terrible lives and scold us, but what can we do? We didn't shut down the mine or the factory. The soil and the buildings are contaminated, and kids live in this and get sick and die.'' Mr. Dunka said, ''The government talks and talks but nobody helps us.'' In the 11 years since Communism crumbled in 1989, Slovakia has struggled with privatization and restructuring, closing many factories that showed no profits and had too many workers. A system where work was compulsory but at least put bread on the table has been replaced by one where open discrimination keeps Gypsies from being hired. Recently, two towns in this part of Slovakia, Nagov and Rokytovce, adopted resolutions forbidding Gypsies from settling on their territory. Slovakia is notorious for its treatment of Gypsies , who make up some 10 percent of its five million population. Discrimination, including police mistreatment and beatings, has been reinforced by the post-Communist rise of skinheads and other neo-fascist groups who, as in the neighboring Czech Republic and Hungary, single out the Gypsies and are rarely punished. In a report due out soon, Amnesty International describes ''punitive police raids'' against Gypsy settlements, with dogs at dawn, apartments damaged and inhabitants beaten. Rudnany was raided in July 1998; in Zehra in December 1999, a 13-year-old boy was shot in the leg, kitchen knives were impounded as weapons and the local Gypsy leader, Jozef Mizigar, was put under house arrest. In March, Jan Ondo and Michal Badzo, two Gypsies from Michalovce, 35 miles east of Kosice, were beaten by the police at the station and hospitalized with fractures. In a statement to local television, the police said there had been ''a mistake'' and apologized. Mr. Dzurinda, elected 18 months ago to replace the populist Vladimir Meciar, has promised to protect the rights of minorities, in particular the Gypsies . Mr. Meciar had called the Gypsies ''mental retards.'' In September, the new government published a ''strategy'' to solve ''the problems of the Roma national minority.'' But ''prejudice and xenophobia are widespread'' and money is scarce, says Vincent Denihel, the government's representative for the Gypsies . Mr. Denihel, himself a Gypsy, is considered to have little power in the government, and he still speaks of plans and studies and strategies and approaches. But he is proud that some 40 Gypsies are now being trained to enter the police academy. ''The government is aware of how complicated the situation is,'' Mr. Denihel said. ''We do not expect to solve the Roma problem in the short term.'' But the national government will get little help from the officials of Rudnany. The aprilor, Miroslav Blistan, and his deputy, Ladislav Sabo, are both former managers of the mine and former Communists -- and both now are evangelical Protestants. They think life was better under socialism, when the mines and factories worked, no matter the cost to the state. As for the Gypsies , they speak of them with open racial prejudice. Mr. Blistan, a jolly man of 64 with a big office, a lavender jacket and a dirty maroon tie, said the mine was running down under the Communists. ''But then the wise ones were elected and it collapsed,'' he said bitterly. ''The democrats liquidated it,'' along with 3,000 jobs. Mr. Sabo brandished a handwritten chart of the changing ethnic makeup of the town. Many Slovaks have left for jobs elsewhere and the rest are having fewer children, while Gypsies , who have nearly no work at all here, have more children. ''What we need is a Chinese fertility program,'' said Mr. Sabo, who then began to giggle. When asked if he meant forced sterilization, he giggled again, waving his chart. In 1970, he pointed out, Rudnany had 6,300 people and only 200 Gypsies . Now it has 3,100 people, 1,040 of them Gypsies . ''This year,'' he said, meaning last year, ''there were 64 Roma kids born and only 14 white kids.'' Mr. Blistan said: ''All these people you're talking about have been procreated. My deputy works with them, but I can't debate with them anymore. They just want to see how much money the state will give them. A Roma just goes to the post office once a month to pick up money.'' The Gypsies , badly educated and not easily led, do not vote in anything like a self-interested block, here or anywhere in Slovakia. ''Blistan tells us lies and throws us a barbecue and a lot of Roma vote for him,'' said Mr. Dunka, with disgust. Asked about garbage collection, Mr. Blistan burst into laughter. ''I'd give them containers, but they don't want to pay for garbage collection, so what can I do?'' he asked, smiling broadly. As for sanitation, he said: ''Two times they built sewers but they were clogged. I don't know what they put in them -- horse skins or whatever.'' Mr. Sabo giggled again. As for water, Mr. Blistan said, ''the law says we have to give everyone water, but they don't want to pay for it.'' He renewed the contract, ''but they owe 40,000 crowns,'' or $1,000. Mr. Dunka says the settlement pays 600 crowns a month for water. Mr. Blistan said he gets on fine with Mr. Dunka. ''But he has no authority among them, because he's not a usurer and doesn't have money.'' Mr. Blistan said he was planning new housing for the Gypsies , which turned out to mean the renovation of more mineworkers' housing. Mr. Dunka and other Gypsies say the buildings are already on condemned, poisoned land. Karol Kanalos, a Gypsy in a private machinery business with two Slovak partners, said that despite happy talk from the state, ''there is no effort to do anything, because they don't take us seriously.'' If an airplane ticket cost only $50, he said, ''we'd all leave this place.'' He laughed sourly. ''Most of us don't consider Slovakia our country.'' What is your country? ''I can't give you an answer,'' he said. ''But I can't say Slovakia. This country doesn't guarantee us a life.'' Photos: Stefan Ziga chopped wood at the gypsy settlement at the abandoned mine at Rudnany, where there is just one water tap for 500 people.; Gypsies live in squalor in old mine buildings on the outskirts of Rudnany, Slovakia, where open discrimination keeps them out of work. ''It was much better under Communism,'' said Alojz Dunka, the settlement's unofficial aprilor. ''Even with discrimination, it was possible to live.'' (Photographs by Julie Denesha for The New York Times) Map of Slovakia highlighting Rudnany: Rudnany's civic leaders speak of Gypsies with open racial prejudice. From email@example.com Mon Apr 10 20:35:26 EDT 2000 Article: 233580 of soc.culture.canada Path: hub.org!hub.org!newsfeed.torontointernetxchange.net!newsfeed.direct.ca!brick.direct.ca!quark.idirect.com.POSTED!not-for-mail From: "Creative Intelligence Agency" Newsgroups: soc.culture.magyar,soc.culture.polish,soc.culture.czecho-slovak,soc.culture.canada,soc.culture.usa Subject: April 8-10, The Polish Roma Council Lines: 75 Organization: Peoples Republic of Poetry X-Priority: 3 X-MSMail-Priority: Normal X-Newsreader: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2615.200 X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V5.00.2615.200 Message-ID: Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 22:02:24 GMT NNTP-Posting-Host: 220.127.116.11 X-Complaints-To: firstname.lastname@example.org X-Trace: quark.idirect.com 955404144 18.104.22.168 (Mon, 10 Apr 2000 18:02:24 EDT) NNTP-Posting-Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 18:02:24 EDT Xref: hub.org soc.culture.magyar:70459 soc.culture.polish:224503 soc.culture.czecho-slovak:67206 soc.culture.canada:233580 soc.culture.usa:484373 ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND CO-OPERATION IN EUROPE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Aleje Ujazdowskie 19 00-557 Warsaw, Poland For information - not an official document PRESS RELEASE OSCE/ODIHR Supports activities surrounding the International Roma Day Warsaw, 4 April 2000 - The OSCE/ODIHR Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues supports a number of awareness-raising activities organized on the occasion of the International Roma Day on 8 April 2000. The main focus of this year's events will be Kosovo, where the ODIHR, as part of its Action Plan and in co-operation with the OSCE Mission in Kosovo and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, is organizing number of public activities, including a series of cultural events with the participation of a group of famous Roma artists from Norway. The activities take place in Roma communities throughout the province and constitute the first high profile public manifestation of Roma in Kosovo since the end of the armed conflict. "We must maintain and develop our Roma culture, encourage new dynamism in our communities and forge a future compatible with Roma lifestyle and beliefs. We have been passive for long enough", says Nicolae Gheorghe, the ODIHR Adviser on Roma and Sinti Issues. "This International Roma Day is a good opportunity to make further progress in raising awareness of the particular situation of Roma in many OSCE countries." The ODIHR Contact Point also co-ordinated activities commemorating the International Roma Day in a number of other countries, including Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In this context, the Contact Point welcomes the official presentation of a study on "Roma in the OSCE Countries" by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities on the occasion of the International Roma Day on 8 April. The International Roma Day is celebrated in commemoration of the First International Roma Congress in London in 1971, which marked the beginning of a co-ordinated effort to promote Roma rights at an international level. OSCE ODIHR CONTACT POINT FOR ROMA AND SINTI ISSUES ACTIVITIES FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL ROMA DAY, 7-12 APRIL, 2000 Up-dated, 5 April, on communications from Roma and Sinti Associations. OSCE INSTITUTIONS AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS With occasion of the Roma International Day,8 April, the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities will official launch its Study on Roma in the OSCE . The ODIHR Contact Point of Roma and Sinti Issues has networked the celebrations of the Roma International day in the participating States and highlighted the situation of Roma in Kosovo as the focus of the celebrations of Roma International Day in 2000. Officers of the main international organisations working on Roma and Sinti issues are meeting on 12 April at the Council of Europe, in Strasbourg, to plan better co-operation and co-ordination of their activities on the situation of Roma and Sinti/Gypsies. POLAND April 8-10, The Polish Roma Council, in co-operation with Romani CRISS, will organize a press conference and cultural event in Warsaw in the Cultural Educational Center. Contact: ODIHR CPRSI and Council of Polish Roma, Mr. Stanislaw Stankiewicz , Ul. Warszawska 43, pok. 101: 15-062 Bialystok: Poland Tel: (48-85) 732 74 54 Fax: (48-85) 732 96 07 e-mail: email@example.com From firstname.lastname@example.org Mon Apr 10 20:35:47 EDT 2000 Article: 233581 of soc.culture.canada Path: hub.org!hub.org!nntp.cs.ubc.ca!newsfeed.direct.ca!brick.direct.ca!quark.idirect.com.POSTED!not-for-mail From: "Creative Intelligence Agency" Newsgroups: soc.culture.magyar,soc.culture.polish,soc.culture.canada,soc.culture.czecho-slovak,soc.culture.usa Subject: OSCE Report on Roma Lines: 75 Organization: Peoples Republic of Poetry X-Priority: 3 X-MSMail-Priority: Normal X-Newsreader: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2615.200 X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V5.00.2615.200 Message-ID: Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 22:04:16 GMT NNTP-Posting-Host: 22.214.171.124 X-Complaints-To: email@example.com X-Trace: quark.idirect.com 955404256 126.96.36.199 (Mon, 10 Apr 2000 18:04:16 EDT) NNTP-Posting-Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 18:04:16 EDT Xref: hub.org soc.culture.magyar:70460 soc.culture.polish:224505 soc.culture.canada:233581 soc.culture.czecho-slovak:67207 soc.culture.usa:484374 Helsinki Commission Chairman Welcomes OSCE Report on Roma; Calls for Adoption of Anti-Discrimination Legislation WASHINGTON, April 7 /PRNewswire/ "Last September, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Max van der Stoel described the deplorable problems the Romani minority faces: intolerance, mutual distrust, poor housing, exclusion, unemployment, low levels of education and-an underlying cause of many of these-systemic discrimination," said Commission Chairman Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ). "Today, the High Commissioner made public his long-awaited report, 'The Situation of Roma and Sinti in the OSCE Area,' which should give further impetus to the OSCE's efforts to improve respect for the human rights of one of Europe's most abused minorities." "Czech President Vaclav Havel once said that the treatment of the Roma is a litmus test for civil society; New York Times reporter Steven Erlanger wrote this week that post-communist Europe is failing that test -- and, in my opinion, most countries are failing badly," continued Smith. "But it is not enough to describe the problem. Governments can and should takes immediate steps to address human rights violations that have grown worse, not better, over the course of Europe's first, post-communist decade. "While government officials often argue that it will take years to solve or address the complex problems Roma face, one particular step can be taken now-this year, this month, this week, today. Governments should begin to draft and implement comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation that will establish a coherent statutory framework for Roma to seek legal redress through the civil courts when confronted with discrimination in the workplace, housing, education, public places and the military. As it now stands, most post-communist countries have no anti-discrimination provisions in their civil codes at all; the thread-bare patchwork of constitutional references to non- discrimination and criminal code references to race relations have proven completely inadequate for the task at hand. "I welcome the High Commissioner's report and am confident that it will prove extraordinarily useful for those governments which have the political will to address the problems of the Romani minority. The High Commissioner's insightful report will serve as an indispensable tool in fulling the goals established by the OSCE Heads of State and Government at their most recent summit in Istanbul." Background: The OSCE Heads of State and Government adopted the following agreements at the Istanbul Summit on November 17, 1999: "We recognize the particular difficulties faced by Roma and Sinti and the need to undertake effective measures in order to achieve full equality of opportunity, consistent with OSCE commitments, for persons belonging to Roma and Sinti. We will reinforce our efforts to ensure that Roma and Sinti are able to play a full and equal part in our societies, and to eradicate discrimination against them." (Para. 20, Charter for European Security) "We deplore violence and other manifestations of racism and discrimination against minorities, including the Roma and Sinti. We commit ourselves to ensure that laws and policies fully respect the rights of Roma and Sinti and, where necessary, to promote anti-discrimination legislation to this effect. We underline the importance of careful attention to the problems of the social exclusion of Roma and Sinti. These issues are primarily a responsibility of the participating States concerned. We emphasize the important role that the ODIHR Contact Point for Roma and Sinti issues can play in providing support. A further helpful step might be the elaboration by the Contact Point of an action plan of targeted activities, drawn up in co-operation with the High Commissioner on National Minorities and others active in this field, notably the Council of Europe." (Para. 31, Istanbul Summit Declaration) The HCNM's Sept. 6, 1999 speech on Romani issues as well as the full text of his report, "The Situation of Roma and Sinti in the OSCE Area," is posted at: http://www.osce.org/inst/hcnm/index.html. SOURCE Helsinki Commission -0- 04/07/2000 /CONTACT: Chadwick R. Gore, 202-225-1901, for the Helsinki Commission/ /Web site: http://www.house.gov/csce/ CO: Helsinki Commission ST: District of Columbia, Czech Republic IN: SU: L
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