Roma Community Faces Tough Times
According to estimates, only 2-10% of the Roma are employed, and it is very hard for the rest to get jobs with persisting prejudice about the Roma and the lack of new jobs, Rudaš noted.
Based on the 2011 real-estate census and the new social security legislation, which stepped into force in the beginning of 2012, social work centres are refusing unemployed Roma the benefits even for owning illegally built houses or sheds, he said.
Rudaš stressed that the basis for establishing ownership should be the land register and not the census, adding that the value of Roma buildings was assessed too high.
The parliamentary Petitions, Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission is said to discuss a number of Roma issues next week, including legal status of Roma settlements, which is a major obstacle for providing public infrastructure for these settlements.
"The law gives us some special rights, but in fact we do not even have the basic rights, like water and electricity supply," Rudaš stressed.
Complaining about spatial segregation and discrimination, he added that even if a Roma family is socialised and wants to integrate itself in a regular settlement, they face huge prejudice and intolerance towards the Roma as neighbours.
Both the segregation and the unsettled legal status of Roma settlements prevent the Roma from dispersing and integrating into the society, he said.
The government will have to face these two challenges, Rudaš pointed out, adding that the Forum of Roma City Councillors expects to meet Agriculture and Environment Minister Franc Bogovič to discuss the issues.
According to data from 2007, Slovenia has 105 Roma settlements with a total of some 9,000 inhabitants. The situation is most problematic in SE Slovenia, where 18 of the 57 settlements have no access to drinking water and 24 have no electricity.
The Roma minority in Slovenia is estimated at slightly less than 10,000 members, the most of which live in the Prekmurje region (NE) and the Dolenjsko and Bela krajina regions (SE).
The first Roma organisation in Slovenia was the predecessor of the Slovenian Roma Association (since 2000), which was established in 1995.
International Romani Day is celebrated on 8 April as an anniversary of the first World Romani Congress in London in 1971.