International Romani Day chance to highlight challenges

Murska Sobota, 8 April - International Romani Day, observed today, is an opportunity for the Roma to point to the challenges faced by the community and wider society, Jožek Horvat Muc, head of the Slovenian Roma Association, told the STA. The main cultural ceremony by the Roma Association to mark the day was held in Murska Sobota (NE) on Saturday.

Murska Sobota
Jožek Horvat Muc, head of the Slovenian Roma Association.
Photo: Marjan Maučec/STA
File photo

Those dealing with Roma issues in Slovenia and the Roma themselves say that the situation in Slovenia is relatively good compared to other EU countries, but there are also areas which, according to the head of the Slovenian Roma Association, need more attention.

"There is still no utility infrastructure in many Roma settlements, there are challenges in the education of Roma children and employment of Roma adults. To move forward, some of the measures that have proved to be outdated and ineffective in recent years would need to be replaced with new ones," said Horvat Muc.

He also pointed to hate speech and discrimination against Roma and stressed the need for systemic regulation of Roma issues in Slovenia. He would like to see greater political participation for Roma, which, in his view, depends primarily on the political will in the country.

A number of events are being held in areas inhabited by the Roma all over the world these days to mark International Romani Day. In Slovenia, the main event was organised by the Slovenian Roma Association in Murska Sobota on Saturday. The keynote speaker was MEP Matjaž Nemec (S&D/SD).

According to Horvat Muc's estimate, there are around 12,000 Roma living in Slovenia, and according to historical records, they have been present on Slovenian soil for 500 years. Most of them live in the regions of Prekmurje (NE), Dolenjska (SE), Posavje (E) and Bela Krajina (SE).

© STA, 2024