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Hungarian city pays Roma to move away, they are emigrating to Canada en masse

14.5.2015 6:41
Romani residents of Miskolc, Hungary, being moved out of a settlement to make way for a parking lot in 2015. (PHOTO:  www.miskolc.hu)
Romani residents of Miskolc, Hungary, being moved out of a settlement to make way for a parking lot in 2015. (PHOTO: www.miskolc.hu)

Dozens of Romani families from the Hungarian city of Miskolc are moving to Canada. The Romani settlement there, where approximately 1 000 people used to live, will be replaced by a parking lot for the nearby football stadium, which is undergoing reconstruction.

The destruction of the Romani settlement began last year. "For reasons of public health and safety we can no longer tolerate the existence of urban slums," said Mayor Akos Kriza.

"We cannot ask more than 10 000 fans to walk through a Romani settlement every time they want to get the stadium," he said. In last year's election he was elected for the Fidesz party, and The Budapest Times reports that he co-opted the radical Jobbik party's anti-Romani politics in order to get votes.  

According to Attila Tamás, a local Romani activist in Miskolc, the city simply wants to get rid of Romani residents. "The aim of politicians in Miskolc is to send impoverished people away instead of attempting to solve their problems," the activist says.  

That his assessment is probably correct is demonstrated by the city's offer to the settlement occupants of two million Hungarian forints (approximately EUR 6 500) in compensation, but only if they buy real estate outside of Miskolc and pledge not to sell it for a minimum of five years. The current consequence of this policy is that between 40 and 50 Romani families have emigrated to Canada over the past few months, an influx that is so great that representatives of the Canadian immigration authorities and the Canadian Embassy to Hungary have met directly with the mayor in Miskolc to discuss it.

min, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Diskriminace, Migrace, Hungary, Kanada



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