The Slovenia Times

World Roma Day to Be Celebrated Around the Country


Different ceremonies, among them one in the town of Trebnje addressed by director of the Office for Nationalities Tamara Vonta and another in Novo mesto addressed by Human Rights Ombudsman Vlasta Nussdorfer, will be an opportunity to reflect on the situation of what are an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 Roma in the country.

One of the highlights of the day will be the opening of a photo exhibition and the premiere of a film entitled "The Copy Equals the Original" at the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum, which show that the Roma way of life is not that different from that of other communities.

Roma cuisine will be celebrated in Maribor, where the first Roma restaurant in Slovenia, called Romani kafenava, will open its doors, while the day will culminate in Cankarjev dom with concerts by Imer Traja Brizani & Amala from Slovenia and the Matt Darriau's Paradox Trio from the US.

Meanwhile, pointing out that the situation of the Roma in Europe is no cause for celebration will be Amnesty International Slovenije, which will organise a rally in downtown Ljubljana in the afternoon. The widespread violence against the Roma people will be the main topic.

Discrimination on the labour market has been one of the key problems of the Roma community in Slovenia and the average unemployment rate of the Roma in the country stands at 95%.

The head of the Roma City Councillors' Association Darko Rudaš told the STA that while prejudice against the Roma, seen as not willing to work, persists, they are proven wrong by examples such as 500 Roma from the north-eastern Pomurje region driving 200 kilometres a day to work in Austria, doing jobs the Austrians decline.

Education is another issue, with Nataša Brajdič, a Roma police officer from Krško, explaining for instance that only around a handful of Roma children finished the primary school in the town of Krško in the past 60 years. She feels that the problem is systemic and that awareness also needs to be raised among Roma parents.

The Slovenian parliament passed a special umbrella law on the Roma in March 2007. The law provides a framework for the status of the Roma community as envisaged by the Constitution; its Article 65 says that "the status and special rights of the Roma community living in Slovenia are defined in a law".


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