Discrimination of Roma still present, researchers say

Ljubljana, 10 November - Discrimination against the Roma community is still present in Slovenia, while there is a lack of statistical data related to the community, researcher Jerica Lorenci said on Thursday as she presented together with her fellow researchers a report on the project Promoting Roma Equality in Slovenia and Slovakia.

Murska Sobota
Jožek Horvat - Muc, the head of the Slovenian Roma Association, speaks at an international Roma conference in Murska Sobota.
Photo: Marjan Maučec/STA

Since discrimination is rarely reported to authorities, it is believed to be higher than detected by the national equality ombudsman, said Lorenci.

Each of the 50 Roma people interviewed as part of the research has experienced it, she told the STA as the results of the research were presented at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana.

There is discrimination on the labour market, in education, healthcare and other segments, but also within the Roma community, where discrimination is felt by women.

There are also other systemic problems that do not motivate Roma to enter the labour market - the fact that social transfers for a two-parent family with four children would exceed the minimum wage the parents would for instance get.

There is also a problem of multi-generational unemployment, as younger people internalise the concept that there is no need to work for a living.

Nevertheless, many young Roma do work, but statistics on this are scarce, said Lorenci, adding that statistics related to Roma are scarce in many areas.

Amanda Fetahi, a member of the Roma community from Maribor, told the STA that many older members of the community "have perhaps completed only five of the nine grades of primary school", so they cannot help their children with school work.

Also, girls are more under pressure than boys to get married, so only one in ten girls would finish secondary school, a tradition Fetahi would like to stop.

While "our elders would like us to be housewives and take care of children", young Roma women would like to have a job and work, she added.

Still, if Slovenia's situation is compared to Slovakia or Montenegro, it is clear that "it's much, much worse there". In Slovenia, the state provides some supportive mechanisms for the basic needs, said Lorenci, while adding that "of course, much more should be done".

© STA, 2022