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Roma and integration of minorities

Concerning minorities (and particularly Roma), when the delegation of Kosice made their presentation to the jury, they emphasized that its strategic line called Open Public Space was expected to involve minorities and, moreover, that the culture programme also included specific events concentrating on Roma culture. The City had already organised more than 30 events with Roma participations by 2008. For this engagement Košice received the prize of the British Council for multicultural dialogue. According to the delegation, Kosice 2013 is going to do its best to integrate Roma in their programme.

Project Košice 2013 – European Capital of Culture – MRC-oriented activities

2.9.2013  |   Filed under: Košice,News  |   Posted by:

The SPOTs project includes a definition of a programme and sub-programme structure, based on which various projects are implemented. One of them is the Sub-programme Social Arts supporting activities aimed at sensitising the public, cooperation of artists with people in disadvantaged communities, and developing new approaches in social and community work. The above programme in 2009–2013 included the implementation of several projects directly in Roma communities, or in collaboration with the Roma community and civic associations, which work in Roma communities on a daily basis. Note: “MRC” stands for “marginalised Roma communities”.


However, the implementation of the programme meant to integrate the Roma was up ended by what took place in the summer of 2013. According to Wikipedia,

"A wall was built in the summer of 2013 in the town of Zapad district of Košice.[9] Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth complained about the wall arguing that it "violates the EU's stand against racism" by segregating the Roma people[9] and it is at odds with the concept of European Capital of Culture, which the town bears this year.[10] The mayor of Košice, Richard Raši, called the wall illegally built without the necessary permits and pledged its demolition.[9]



Press coverage:

On 20th of August 2013 the BBC published a report with following head-line:

Slovakia 'anti-Roma' wall in Kosice riles EU

The BBC mentioned that while EU Commissioner Vassiliou had visited Kosice in January to mark the opening of the cultural year since Kosice was besides Marseille European Capital of Culture in 2013, an anti-Roma wall went up to the anguish of all those engaged in doing away with Human Rights abuses directed especially against the Roma.

"It is said that the authorities in the Slovak city of Kosice shall take legal action to remove a wall separating Roma (Gypsy) families from majority Slovaks.

The pledge came in a letter from Kosice mayor Richard Rasi to EU Commissioner for Culture Androulla Vassiliou. He called the wall illegal.

He was responding to a complaint from Ms Vassiliou, who said the wall violated the EU's stand against racism.

Walls blocking off Roma areas have raised tensions in Slovakia before.

Mr Rasi's letter said the wall in Kosice-Zapad district had been put up this summer on the initiative of the district mayor, Rudolf Bauer, "illegally, without the necessary permits, and without informing the city of Kosice".

"Appropriate legal actions against the city part in question shall follow," he promised.

In 2010 Roma were walled off from majority Slovaks in the town of Michalovce

Ms Vassiliou had asked him "as a matter of urgency... to remedy this unfortunate situation".

Pictures of the wall appeared on the Slovak news website, showing that someone had painted the word "Prepacte" ("sorry") on it in big letters.

The CTK news agency reports that the Kosice wall is the eighth such project to arise in eastern Slovakia since 2009, and the fourteenth in Slovakia as a whole.

The 2011 census put the Roma population of Slovakia at about 106,000, out of a total population of 5.5 million. But the figure for Roma is disputed, with some estimates putting their numbers higher, at more than 5% of the total population.

Roma communities in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Serbia have long complained of discrimination. Many Roma live in desperate poverty and suffer higher rates of sickness and illiteracy than the national average."





Mail Online, 26 Feb. 2015

Slumdogs of Slovakia: This city was given £51million when it was named European capital of culture... so why are Roma children still living in such horrifying squalor?

Read more:


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