Non-ending racist violence faced by Roma in Slovakia
Slovakia is considered to be one of the worst countries in Europe for the Roma. There are 440,000 Roma in Slovakia, nearly eight percent of the population — one of the highest concentrations in Europe. According to a new investigative story by Investigative Fund reporter Aaron Lake Smith, published in VICE magazine, over the past two years, racist violence, evictions, and more subtle forms of prejudice and discrimination have reached a crescendo in the formerly-communist Eastern European country.
Public schools remain segregated into Roma and non-Roma classrooms, in spite of a 2012 court decision that ended overt segregation in the country. Far-right groups hold well-attended anti-Roma rallies calling for the Roma's expulsion; Roma families are attacked by racist thugs. Roma women are abused by Slovak doctors; Roma adults face 70 percent unemployment, more than double the national average; local officials deride them as "unemployed parasites"; and in the past two years, eleven municipalities have erected walls to separate Roma ghettos from their white Slovak neighbors.
And the prevalent racist tone among most white Slovaks is being echoed at the highest echelons of power. In February, prime minister of Slovakia Robert Fico said, "We did not establish our independent state for minorities, although we respect them, but mainly for the Slovak state-forming nation," and complained about the "strange tendency to put forward the position of minorities."
"The New Roma Ghettos" was published in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. It appears in the April issue of VICE magazine and is available online here:http://www.vice.
Media requests for reporter and VICE Senior Editor Aaron Lake Smith may be directed to Jayati Vora at presscontact@