Slovak municipality opened playground with segregated use rules - Romani children on even-numbered days only
The Slovak municipality of Hrčeľ has introduced special rules for using its multi-functional playground that was funded with EU monies in 2012 - Romani children can use it on even-numbered days and "the rest" of the citizenry can use it on odd-numbered days. The sign announcing the rules to those visiting the playground was also still accessible on the municipality's website this past weekend, according to news server dennikn.sk.
Mayor Rudolf Balog, however, told the news server that those rules no longer apply and that they were introduced when the playground opened four years ago because skirmishes were happening there between non-Roma and Roma. "That applied for about a month, then the conditions calmed down," he said.
Slovak MP Ondrej Dostál, the chair of the Civic Conservative Party elected on the candidate list of the Freedom and Solidarity Party, has drawn attention to the segregation. "Dividing up the days citizens can access the playground according to whether they are Romani or not is a clear example of discrimination and segregation," he said.
The mayor said there had been no other option and that he considered the solution to have been a compromise. Currently, however, people allegedly go to the playground on whichever day they prefer.
"The Roma say how long they're going to play there and the manager unlocks the playground for them for that amount of time. The same for everyone else," he said.
Dostál has informed Slovak Ombudswoman Jana Dubovcová of the case. "We can demonstrate to Madame Ombudswoman or anyone else that we are not discriminating against anyone here," the mayor said.
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