Pope visit sign of inclusion for Slovakia’s Roma

September 14, 2021 GMT

STORY: Slovakia Pope Roma 2 - Pope visit sign of inclusion for Slovakia’s Roma

LENGTH: 02:46



TYPE: Roma dialect/Natsound



DATELINE: 14 September 2021 - Košice




Kosice - September 14 2021  

1. Pan of apartment buildings with Roma residents at balconies and windows

2. Mid of people standing in balconies

3. Sniper on roof

4. Various of Roma watching from behind fences

5. Pan of apartment building with sign welcoming Pope Francis and people leaning out of windows

6. Various of people waving small Vatican and Slovakian flags

7. SOUNDBITE (Roma dialect) Eva Borgova, attendee:

“We are hoping for some goodness and some blessing from the Pope and some luck for the Roma people. We are just happy that he is coming here.”


8. Various of onlookers

9. Man speaking on stage

10. People rehearsing dance performance on stage

11. People at window

12. Children at a distance behind fence

13. Wide of stage with apartments in background

14. Cardinals arriving, sniper on roof in background

15. People watching from windows

16. Pope Francis walking up to stage and waving

17. People watching from windows

18. Wide of pope on stage waving to crowd

19. Crowd clapping

20. People in crowd listening

21. Pope on stage

22. Wide of Pope seated on stage


Pope Francis on Tuesday urged Slovakia’s Roma to integrate better into the mainstream as he met with the country’s most socially excluded minority group, who have long suffered discrimination, marginalization and poverty.

But in some ways Francis’ visit to the Lunik IX settlement in the eastern city of Kosice brought home just how excluded the Roma are: Slovak police and soldiers lined tall fencing along the main route into the neighborhood, preventing residents who hadn’t registered in advance from accessing the small seating area for the event.

Many locals stood behind fences or in their open windows to look down at the stage where the Pope appeared.

Despite the problematic optics, the visit was nevertheless a highlight of Francis’ four-day pilgrimage to Hungary and Slovakia.

The district, Lunik XI, is made up of a series of dilapidated buildings with no running water or proper sewage system.   

There are about 4,300 Roma living there.

Lunik XI is on the outskirts of Kosice in eastern Slovakia not far from the Hungarian border.  

Pope Francis flew to Kosice early Tuesday morning to celebrate Mass in nearby Presov, before returning to Kosice for the meeting with the Roma community.


Lunik XI is the biggest one of about 600 shabby, dilapidated settlements where some 20% of the poorest of the country’s 400,000 Roma live.  

Roma have long suffered racism and discrimination in Slovakia and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe, and continue to face huge hurdles in employment and education.

The mistrust is reciprocal, with some Slovaks blaming the Roma for crime and Roma distrusting state institutions that have long failed them.

Pope Francis urged both the Roma and the rest of the population to end the segregation.


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