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May 19, 2022



Slovak Plenipotentiary for Roma says Govt decision not to deliver benefits to Romani settlements is inhumane

18.3.2020 17:59
Ábel Ravasz (far right). (PHOTO:  Official Facebook page of Ábel Ravasz)
Ábel Ravasz (far right). (PHOTO: Official Facebook page of Ábel Ravasz)

News server reports that after the Central Crisis Team of the Government of Slovakia met on Monday, it announced it has changed its mind about a plan to organize mobile post offices to visit localities where Romani people live so that disbursal of welfare benefits could take place in a way that would prevent people congregating. Ábel Ravasz (Most-Híd), the Slovak Government Plenipotentiary for Romani Communities, had proposed along with nonprofit organizations that the welfare benefits be delivered directly to their recipients.

Ravasz wanted to prevent high concentrations of people traveling to receive their benefits in a single place. Instead, however, the Government has decided to send security units to those locations to maintain order.

Benefits will continue to be disbursed at regular post offices. "Each branch of the Slovak Post Office will be monitored by a private security service, the local police and the state police," Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini announced at a press conference after the team met.

The Slovak Government is also planning to send the Army into areas with high numbers of Romani inhabitants "to make sure distance is maintained, as well as public order, with the proviso that we will attempt to disinfect the hands of each client of the Slovak Post Office who comes for social benefits and to even provide the client with a replacement covering for his nose and mouth so he won't endanger postal workers," the PM explained. Ravasz has thoroughly objected to those measures.

"I consider the solution the Crisis Team has adopted to be inhumane and I cannot identify with it," the Plenipotentiary posted to social media. "I am continuing to negotiate with the Slovak Post Office and the Police of the Slovak Republic so that at the post offices they will at least distribute materials for covering people's mouths and noses and so there will not be incidents."

After the information that the Army will be heading to the Romani settlements began to spread online, Slovak MP Peter Pollák (OLANO), who is a member of the Romani community, responded by telling his social media followers that it is not the case, despite the PM having been quoted as saying so in the media. "Don't spread panic. No soldiers are going to the settlements. That's a fabrication," the MP posted.

agw, Die, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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