E680 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — Extensions of Remarks April 16, 1997
town lived on. Thanks to their efforts, the port prepared by the European Roma Rights Finally, the ERRC report on Slovakia indi-
unique and colorful tradition of Morgan’s Point Center [ERRC] entitled ‘‘Time of the cates that Slovak localities continue to use a
will live on for future generations of Texans to Skinheads: Denial and Exclusion of Roma in system of tightly controlled residency permits
enjoy. Slovakia.’’ This study describes a grim pattern to restrict the freedom of movement of Roma.
of violent assaults against Roma perpetrated Not only does this practice offend the non-
by skinhead extremists; it also suggests that discrimination provisions of the Helsinki proc-
ITALIAN-AMERICAN LEADERS IN local police forces have been, at best, unwill- ess, this system also harkens back to the rigid
MICHIGAN ing to fulfill their obligation to protect their citi- controls of the Communist days. If people are
zens and, at worst, have themselves actually not permitted to move where the jobs are, how
HON. JOE KNOLLENBERG engaged in violence against Roma. Descrip- can a free market system flourish?
OF MICHIGAN tions of a 1995 organized attack on the entire Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, this pattern of
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Romani community in the town of Jarovnice— violence against Roma is not unique to Slo-
something that reads like a pogrom from a by- vakia. The ERRC, which was founded to de-
Wednesday, April 16, 1997
gone era—were especially chilling. fend the human rights of Roma, has also is-
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Mr. Speaker, I rise Since Slovakia became an independent sued major reports on Austria and Romania.
today to honor two great Italian-American state in 1993, a great deal of international at- In addition, its most recent newsletter reported
community leaders in southeastern Michigan, tention has, rightly, focused on the status of on problems Roma face in several other Euro-
Judge Michael Martone and Dr. Augustine the Hungarian minority in that country, a com- pean countries. Clearly, there is much more
Perrotta. Each has been named Metropolitan munity that makes up approximately 10 per- that many governments in Central Europe can
Detroit’s 1997 Italian-American of the Year by cent of the population. Slovakia also has an- and should do to address these problems.
the Italian Study Club. other large minority population which is less I realize that Slovakia is in the midst of
Judge Martone, the son of a first generation well known abroad. While the exact number of grappling with a very broad range of fun-
Italian-American, was elected to the district Roma in Slovakia is contested, it is estimated damental questions regarding its development
court bench in 1992. He created the Court in to be in the hundreds of thousands. These and future. The basic human rights of Roma
the Schools-Critical Life Choices, a program people—the survivors of Nazi efforts to eradi- should be a part of that agenda. I see no bet-
that relocates his courtroom to local schools. cate the Roma altogether—now face increas- ter time. Will Slovakia enter the 21st century
Students witness defendants being fined, pun- ing violent attacks against their homes, their as a country which seeks to unite its citizens
ished, or jailed for drunk driving, drug posses- villages, and their lives. in achieving common goals, or will it lag be-
sion, and other crimes. The problems of Roma in post-Communist hind with those countries which have per-
The second part of the judge’s program in- European countries are many, and often defy mitted nationalism and racism to divide their
cludes an interactive dialog about what the easy answers. But at least three of the prob- people and weaken the very state they worked
students witnessed and the lessons they can lems described in ‘‘Time of the Skinheads’’ do so hard to create?
learn. have obvious solutions. First, the Slovak Gov-
Judge Martone, whose program has been ernment has failed to demonstrate any serious
copied by other States and featured on NBC’s effort to acknowledge and address the wide- SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTER-
‘‘Today Show,’’ remains very active in the spread problem of violent skinhead attacks on NATIONAL UNION LOCAL 2028
local community with his wife Martha and their Roma. On the contrary, some public officials— AND IRONWORKERS LOCAL 229:
two sons, Jonathan and James. members of the ruling coalition—have repeat- SAN DIEGO-IMPERIAL COUNTIES
Dr. Augustine Perrotta, a first generation edly made crude racist remarks about the LABOR COUNCIL, AFL–CIO LABOR
Italian-American born after Mount Vesuvius’ Roma. As long as such remarks stand TO NEIGHBOR AWARD
eruption drove his family from their ancestral uncontested or unchallenged by Prime Min-
home in Arienzo, worked his way through col- ister Meciar, skinheads will believe that they HON. BOB FILNER
lege and medical school, graduating as val- can attack Roma with impunity. Clearly, local OF CALIFORNIA
edictorian of his medical school class. police officials take their cues from the top. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Named the ‘‘Top Doc’’ by Detroit Monthly Accordingly, any improvement in the situation
Magazine in 1995, Dr. Perrotta is a leader in Wednesday, April 16, 1997
of Roma in Slovakia must begin with the lead-
the medical community serving on the boards ership of that country stating that racism and Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker and colleagues, I
of numerous hospitals in southeastern Michi- bigotry will not be tolerated. rise today to recognize the Service Employees
gan. Second, the ERRC report described a pat- International Union Local 2028 [SEIU] and the
His philosophy of practice has been to use tern of excessive use of force by the police Ironworkers Local 229 as they are honored by
humor as medicine and he is well known for against Roma. When the victims seek to bring the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Coun-
maintaining Italian traditions in his home. His a complaint against the police, the charges cil, AFL–CIO, for their strong support of the
hospitality, warmth, and kindness are not only are, in effect, reversed and the Rom is Labor to Neighbor program in San Diego and
enjoyed by his wife Grace and their three chil- charged with assaulting the police. Signifi- the Imperial Valley.
dren, but each and every one of his patients. cantly, the Council of Europe’s Committee for The Labor to Neighbor program educates
Judge Martone and Dr. Perrotta are out- the Prevention of Torture released a report on and involves union members and their families
standing community leaders. As we enjoy the April 3, which also documented a problem of in the campaign to protect jobs and the future
23d annual Festa Italiana, I want to rec- police brutality in Slovakia. of working people in San Diego and Imperial
ommend them and thank them for their long- That report, like the report of the ERRC, Counties.
time service and loyal commitment to our noted that the failure to ensure that those The slogan of SEIU Local 2028 is ‘‘Politics
community. charged with a criminal offense have adequate is Union Business.’’ This slogan embodies the
legal representation has significantly contrib- essence of the Labor to Neighbor program.
uted to this miscarriage of justice. One of the Local 2028 mobilized over 100 volunteers in
DOGS HAVE MORE FREEDOM purposes of providing such representation is the 1996 election and has also provided cru-
to guarantee a fair trial, consistent with the cial support to the Labor to Neighbor Union
HON. CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH due process of law, and to ensure that those Summer Program.
OF NEW JERSEY accused of crimes do not have confessions The Ironworkers Local 229 is being recog-
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES extracted from them by force. nized for its leadership role in bringing Labor
The failure to provide the accused with de- to Neighbor into the Imperial Valley. Local 229
Wednesday, April 16, 1997 fense counsel violates one of the most impor- also gave significant support to the Labor to
Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, tant provisions of the international human Neighbor Union Summer Program and spon-
‘‘Dogs have more freedom than us; at least rights system—the right to an attorney, a right sored a golf tournament to help fund Labor to
they are not afraid to go outside.’’ Mr. Speak- articulated in article 14 of the International Neighbor’s fall program.
er, this is the conclusion of a young Romani Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well For these activities, the San Diego-Imperial
father in Slovakia who recounted his experi- as para. 5.16 of the OSCE Copenhagen Doc- Counties Labor Council, AFL–CIO, recognizes
ence with growing skinhead violence in his ument. I hope the Slovak Government will SEIU Local 2028 and the Ironworkers Local
country. His story is, regrettably, just one of take immediate measures to redress this prob- 229 with their Labor to Neighbor Award. I am
the many documented in a January 1997 re- lem. pleased to join in honoring their contributions