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"Premier Promises to Take Greek Gypsies Out of Crippling Poverty"
Cyprus Weekly, No. 1087, November 17-23, 2000
Premier Costas Simitis promised to help rescue Greece's Gypsies from desperate poverty, after inaugurating a Gypsy settlement outside this northern city Saturday.
"We want to show that our society takes care of people's problems - that is the mark of a progressive society," Simitis said after officially opening the Agia Sofia settlement which houses about 2,000 people.
The Gypsies were voluntarily moved from a nearby squalid camp into prefabricated houses set up at an old army base.
Simitis said similar programmes would be carried out across the country.
About half of Greece's 150,000-odd Gypsy population lives in camps, most with no running water and electricity and with alarmingly high rates of disease and illiteracy.
International rights organisations have repeatedly criticized Greece's treatment of Gypsies. In an annual report on human rights, the US State Department earlier this year said Gypsies faced declining living conditions and are subject to frequent discrimination.
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