Dnevnik sees "echoes of feudalism" in how Roma are treated

Ljubljana, 29 June - Dnevnik looks at several recent "interventions by the authorities" in Roma settlements in east and south Slovenia in Thursday's commentary, arguing that several such decisions insufficiently take into account the broader social context and reek of feudalism.

In Ribnica and Beltinci, for example, the authorities are not demolishing Roma settlements like they used to, they are relocating them due to hygiene concerns, to prevent conflicts with locals, or to set up an industrial zone.

"Yet in decisions in which they invoke a national document, the national programme of measures for the Roma, one gets the impression that their plans do not sufficiently consider the social context and the difficult conditions in which the Roma are trying to survive," the paper says.

The reason why the Roma live in such harsh conditions is because of the refusal to connect them to water and electricity with the excuse that their settlements are not legal. "In reality, this is an unlawful refusal to grant them the basic results of human development."

The paper notes that the unlawfulness of Roma settlements is rooted in history. In Yugoslavia the authorities encouraged the Roma to settle down permanently and gave them public land. But after independence ownership of the land changed and "the houses and people in them got new owners, in what is an echo of feudalism."

The paper says that mayors should bear in mind they are not moving pieces on a political chessboard, they are playing with the fates of people. "Rather than moving homes, it would be better to allow the people to legally get water and electricity," concludes the commentary Echoes of Feudalism.

© STA, 2023