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Roma settlement next to the US Steel factory and with a segregation wall build by the local government, Slovakia

Roma settlement of Vel'ka Ida in Slovakia is contaminated by the biggest steel producer in the region --- U.S. steel Košice and segregated by a physical discriminatory wall built by the local government.


Numbering half a million and making up an estimated 10 percent of Slovakia's population, Roma people face discrimination. One such case is obvious in Vel’ka Ida,  a Roma settlement in Eastern Slovakia [1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Roma settlement next to the US Steel factory and with a segregation wall build by the local government, Slovakia
Country:Slovak Republic
State or province:Košice
Location of conflict:Veľká Ida
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Water access rights and entitlements
Metal refineries
Specific commodities:Steel
Industrial waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

United States Steel Corporation or the U.S. Steel is a North American integrated steel producer headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania operating in Slovakia is known as U. S. Steel Košice, s.r.o. in the Vel'ka Ida Roma settlement Košice [2]. In its latest available financial results, for the year of 2016, U.S. Steel Kosice raised its profit to 271 million euros in 2016 [3].

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Level of Investment:271 000 000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:800
Start of the conflict:01/01/2013
Company names or state enterprises:U.S. Steel Košice (USSKE) from United States of America - Contamination of the Roma settlement and rest of the town. Also the company uses water resources as a disposal for their production waste.
Relevant government actors:The mayor of Vel'ka Ida that gave a permit for a separation wall to be build around the Roma settlement and cut-of water supply for Roma, citing "overuse".
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stageLATENT (no visible resistance)
Groups mobilizing:Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Noise pollution, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Occupational disease and accidents, Accidents, Infectious diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights
Potential: Displacement, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental racism and discrimination based on ethnicity
Development of alternatives:There is no alternative being proposed. The U.S. steel Kosice offered jobs to Roma men from the Vel'ka Ida settlement they live in. However, only 3 people out of 800 work in the factory [1]. The local government instead built a segregation wall -- citing "to protect them" and cut off water supply for the Roma, citing "overuse" [1] [2] [3 [4] [7].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:No, Roma people of the Vel´ka Ida continue to live in extremely impoverished and separated settlement by a segregation wall built by the local government in 2013; but also in a highly contaminated and polluted environment due to the closeness of U.S Steel Košice. While there is water available for US Steel factory to expose their environmental hazards, forRoma potable water has ben cut off by the same government.
Sources & Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[4] U. S. Steel Košice, the largest integrated steel producer in Central Europe.
[click to view]

[2] Info U. S. Steel Košice, s.r.o.
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[1] Vice (2013) The New Roma Ghettos in Slovakia
[click to view]

[3] Reuters (2017) Slovakia wants to 'get foot in the door' in U.S. Steel plant sale
[click to view]

[6] Civil society monitoring report on implementation of the national Roma integration strategy in Slovakia. 2019. Report. Center for the Research on Ethnicity and Culture of the European Commission.
[click to view]

[7] Artist, volunteers paint Roma wall in Veľká Ida. 2019.
[click to view]

[5] Frontera Veľká Ida. Participatory photography workshop by Josu Trueba Leiva and Eva Parey
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Other documents

U.S. Steel Kosice s.r.o in Slovakia, Kosice US Steel factory is based just next to the Velka Ida Roma Settlement in Kosice, Slovakia. Source:,_s.r.o.#/media/File:Ussteel_kosice_slovakia.JPG
[click to view]

Vel'ka Ida Roma settlement, in Eastern Slovakia. The US Steel factory is visible in the background. Photos by Matt Lutton. Source VICE News
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A boy drinks from the towns only source of water, outside the US Steel factory in Kosice, Slovakia. Source: Jan Grarup RAPHO / GEO "THE NEW EUROPE - THE ROMA"
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Ksenija Hanacek ICTA-UAB
Last update26/08/2019
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