Anti Roma racism in Slovenia and elsewhere

This video is called Roma Minority in Slovenia – Strojan Case.

From British daily The Guardian:

Violence and persecution follow the Roma across Europe

Ian Traynor in Ambrus, Slovenia

Monday November 27, 2006

Miha Strojan was tending to his sick mother when the mob arrived.

Wielding clubs, guns and chainsaws, several hundred villagers converged on the cottage in a clearing in the beech forest with a simple demand.

“Zig raus [Gyppos out],” they called in German, deliberately echoing Nazi racist chants. “Bomb the Gypsies.”

It was the last Saturday of last month, when the mob terrorised the extended family of more than 30 Roma, half of them children, into fleeing their clearing a mile over the hill from the farming village of Ambrus in eastern Slovenia.

“They were building bonfires on our land and shouting that if we don’t move out, they will bomb us and crucify our children,” recalls Mr Strojan, 30.

A Slovene filmmaker, Fillip Robar Dorin, present at the scene, said it reminded him of the Kristallnacht pogroms of 1938 when the Nazis rampaged against the Jews of Germany and Austria.

See also here.

Anti Roma in Romania: here; in France: here.

Forced sterilization of Roma in Czech republic: here.

THOUSANDS took part in protests across the Czech Republic on Sunday against rising racism towards Gypsies: here.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Roma Exodus Provokes Diplomatic Conflict: here.

3 thoughts on “Anti Roma racism in Slovenia and elsewhere

  1. From Dear Kitty modBlog Google cache:

    Austria: Left wins elections; racism loses Comments: 3
    Date: 10/3/05 at 10:37AM (1M2d ago)

    Mood: Looking Playing: Get up, Stand up, by Bob Marley

    The elections yesterday in the Austrian state of Styria were a victory for the Left parties: both social democrats and communists won.

    Neo-nazis and other politicians pandering to xenophobia lost.

    The media have much attention for the anti-Turkey views of the Austrian main (conservative Roman Catholic) governing party.

    However, they tend to largely ignore the Styria voters’ verdict.

    Schüssel’s conservative government party used to be Styria’s biggest party since time immemorial.

    Yesterday, they lost that position to the social democrats.

    Still worse off are Schüssel’s extreme Right government allies like Jörg Haider.

    They got too little votes to get any seats.

    The third party in the state parliament of Styria are now, for the first time since 35 years, with four seats, the communist party of Austria, KPÖ.

    KPÖ votes rose from 6.872 at the 2000 election to 43.751 now.

    Meanwhile, the KPÖ was congratulated by Ms Elfriede Jelinek, Nobel Price winner for literature.

    So, Schüssel’s anti-Turkey propaganda did not help.

    There is a certain parallel with Germany.

    There, as well, the Left Party entered parliament.

    While the NPD nazis failed miserably.


  2. Racists face life for Roma attack

    Czech Republic: Police have reported that four right-wing extremists had been arrested for an arson attack on a Roma family that badly injured a two-year-old girl.

    The four men, who were arrested on Wednesday, have been charged with racially motivated attempted murder and face up to life imprisonment if convicted.

    Authorities said that they had been responsible for an attack in April on a Roma family’s house in Vitkov which left the two-year-old girl, with severe burns to 80 per cent of her body.


  3. BALKANS: Apologising to Sterilised Roma Women – Slovakia’s Turn

    By Pavol Stracansky

    BRATISLAVA, Nov 27 (IPS) – Rights activists are hoping a landmark announcement by the Czech government regretting forced sterilisation of Roma women in the past will push politicians in neighbouring Slovakia to follow suit.

    The Czech government this week made a public statement of regret that Roma women were sterilised in the past without their full consent and said that safeguards had been drawn up to make sure nothing similar happens in the future.

    Rights groups claim that from the 1970s until 1990, Romani women were systematically sterilised under a Czechoslovak government programme aimed at reducing the “high, unhealthy” birth rate of Romani women.

    But while the Czech government has now issued a statement of regret over the sterilisations, rights groups say Slovak politicians have not dealt with the issue.

    Ostalinda Maya, women’s issues specialist at the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) in Budapest, told IPS: “We have to hope that this move by the Czech government will push the Slovak authorities into doing more on this issue and compensate victims of forced sterilisation.”

    Rights groups claim that authorities in the former Czechoslovakia coerced Roma women into sterilisations by offering them either large financial incentives or threatening that if they did not undergo the procedure their existing children would be taken away and put under state care.

    Under communism the Roma, better known as gypsies, in the Czech Republic were largely seen as uneducated and backward and, while outwardly considered by the authorities as part of communist society, they were often looked down upon and treated as second-class citizens.

    The practice came to light in 2003 when women began coming forward, claiming they had been victims of forced sterilisation. More than 80 women in the Czech Republic lodged complaints with the country’s ombudsman, and investigations revealed that official written records at local authorities dating back to the communist era contained recommendations that the “unwanted growth of Roma families” should be “restricted”.

    The ombudsman’s report on investigations concluded that the sterilisations had not been individual isolated cases but coordinated.

    Research by the ERRC found that some women had been sterilised without their knowledge while in other cases they had not given informed consent. Some complained they had been given papers they did not understand, and sometimes presented on the operating table.xxxxxx

    The ombudsman found that the women’s complaints were justified and that they had not given informed consent for the procedures.

    But complications with statute of limitations on the illegal sterilisations, scarcity of records dating back decades and a lack of legal aid have led to claims for compensation being rejected. All criminal charges have been dropped.

    Victims’ groups have welcomed the Czech authorities’ expression of regret, describing it as a “milestone” they hope will open a path to “justice” for victims.

    Elena Gorolova, spokeswoman for the Group of Women Harmed by Sterilisation, told Czech media: “The apology means a first step towards long awaited justice, although much remains to be done.”

    But activists have attacked the Slovak government for not making a similar move.

    When the claims of forced sterilisation first emerged the government at the time pledged to carry out an investigation. Criminal investigations in 2003 and an investigation carried out by the health ministry concluded there was no evidence of forced sterilisation. Another investigation in 2007 ended with the same statement.

    But domestic and international rights groups criticised the investigations as not being independent.

    “They need to create an independent commission to investigate this properly and then issue an apology and compensation to the victims,” Vanda Durbakova, a lawyer with the Centre for Civil and Human Rights NGO who has defended Roma women in court cases over the sterilisations, told IPS.

    Durbakova added: “It is symptomatic that in the Czech Republic where these practices also went on that the government has apologised. The stance of the Slovak political elite is opportunistic and short-sighted.”

    Slovak officials’ continued claim that there is no evidence of forced sterilisations comes despite the Council of Europe issuing a statement in 2005 that Roma women were sterilised without their consent and the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women last year calling on Slovakia to accept responsibility for forced sterilisations.

    Last week the United Nations Committee Against Torture criticised the Slovak government for its “passive” approach to investigating the sterilisations and called on it to launch an effective and unbiased investigation as well as to compensate the victims of the practice.

    Durbakova said she was pessimistic as to whether the Czech government’s public announcement would prompt any change in the Slovak government’s stance on the issue. “We will have to wait and see, but I think it is unlikely.’’

    A European Court of Human Rights ruling in April upheld complaints by eight women who said their human rights had been breached when they were not granted full access to their medical records when they suspected they had been sterilised against their will. Slovak authorities appealed the ruling, but it was rejected last week and they have now been ordered to pay the women compensation.

    The ERRC’s Maya said she hoped the Czech government’s statement and the European Court of Human Rights ruling would now force the Slovak government into more action on the issue.

    “They have to do something because the Czechs have done something and even in Hungary, where cases of forced sterilisation of Roma women, albeit not systematic, have been identified, one female victim of the practice has been compensated by the government.’’

    “There is only Slovakia left to address the issue now,” Maya said.

    Rights groups have meanwhile warned that while attention has been focused on systematic sterilisations under the communist regime, the practice did not die out in the 1990s.

    Some of the most recent cases of claimed forced sterilisation in the Czech Republic date back to just last year and Roma rights activists claim that in one case of 2007 social workers threatened to take a Roma mother’s children away from her unless she had the operation.

    Roma are among the largest minorities in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia, numbering hundreds of thousands in each state, although their exact numbers are uncertain because many do not register their ethnicity on national census forms. Roma claim that they are subjected to continued persecution and racism at all levels of society.

    Activists say that while there is no suggestion that the practice today is part of a systematic programme, doctors are being motivated to perform sterilisations amid racist attitudes to Roma that are as rife in society now as they were more than 30 years ago.

    “The systematic sterilisation programme ended with the fall of communism. But we know that after that there were still forced sterilisations, some very, very recently. There is still a strong degree of racism towards the Roma that exists in [Czech and Slovak] society,” said Maya.


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