16 March 2011
Water is a human right: End discrimination against Roma in Slovenia

In Slovenia, like the rest of Europe, nearly 100 per cent of the population has access to safe drinking water.  

Yet today many Romani communities struggle to collect even small amounts of water for drinking, washing and cooking.  This is not by chance or by choice – it is due to discrimination.

Silvana Hudorovac and her family live in an informal Roma settlement near Ponova vas, with no water or sanitation. She told us:

“We have to use the water from the stream which is very dirty. Children vomit and get diarrhoea. They don’t allow us to take water from the pipe at the cemetery and at the petrol station they say that Gypsies should go away.”

This is just one of the isolated Roma settlements where residents do not have adequate access to water, sanitation and other essentials like electricity. Many Roma are denied access to these vital public services because their homes are in “irregular settlements”.

But widespread discrimination against Roma in towns across Slovenia often means living in these settlements is their only option. Other communities and local authorities block Roma families from moving into their areas and very little social housing exists as an alternative.

Take action for Silvana, her family and many other Roma living in Slovenia.  

Housing, water and sanitation are human rights. Call on the Slovenian government to uphold these rights for everyone in Slovenia without discrimination.

Dear Prime Minister

I am very concerned about the denial of the rights to adequate housing, water and sanitation to many Roma communities in Slovenia.

I urge you to:

•    Ensure immediate provision of at least the minimum amount of safe water for personal and domestic use and a basic level of adequate sanitation to all informal settlements.
•    Ensure security of tenure to all residents of informal settlements and offer alternative housing options, in consultation with the affected Roma communities, which do not lead to further segregation.
•    Address the discrimination that the Roma face every day, especially in access to housing; and provide effective remedies for all victims of human rights violations.

Yours sincerely.

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