Call for Police to Examine Security Situation in Roma Settlements in SE Slovenia

By , 12 Feb 2020, 10:09 AM Lifestyle
Poverty within a Roma community Poverty within a Roma community YouTube screenshot

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STA, 11 February 2020 - The parliamentary Interior Affairs Committee unanimously called on the police force on Tuesday to draw up a report on the security situation in areas with Roma communities and a proposal for systemic changes to improve it.

The proposal was drawn up by a subcommittee established in May last year by Democrats (SDS) MP Anja Bah Žibert as the latest report on the state of the Roma community had shown things were improving only slowly.

Bah Žibert was succeeded as the chair of the subcommittee by Predrag Baković, a SocDems MP who dealt with Roma issue throughout his pre-parliamentary career.

Related: Death of Baby in Goriča Vas Draws Attention to Extreme Poverty Among Slovenia’s Roma

Areas with Roma communities in Slovenia (Map Matjaž Geršič)  Areas-with-Roma-communities-in-Slovenia-Map-Matjaz-Gersic.png

Areas with Roma communities in Slovenia (Map Matjaž Geršič, from "Geographical names in the languages of official minorities in Slovenia")

He recently told the STA that the subcommittee, which comprises MPs from areas with Roma communities, had been receiving many letters and calls from local communities and civil initiatives to address the topic, and that trust in institutions was poor.

Baković said challenges remained in education, employment, living conditions and security. Both the Roma and the majority population are unhappy with the situation, he added.

He feels that, as things currently stand, relations between the two groups are not encouraging, at least not in the south-east of the country.

"It is not like the police is not doing its work, the problems are of a more systemic nature," he said, highlighting a lack of tools to effectively penalise the bad apples in the Roma community that engage in crime and make no effort to get off of welfare.

Related: Pahor Meets with Roma and Other Stakeholders, Discusses Illegal Villages in SE Slovenia

Baković argued that the institutions the committee members addressed kept referring them back and forth to each other and that "in fact we're not operating with the goal of solving the problem but to avoid responsibility and accusations".

One of Baković's key beliefs is that it is necessary to connect members of Roma communities and the majority population. He feels very few Roma would remain in Roma settlements if they had other options.

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