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CZECH GOVT OFFICIAL QUESTIONS EU REPORT ON ROMA December 16, 2009

Posted by cristobalgomez in Uncategorized.
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9/12/2009- The situation of Romanies in the Czech Republic is better than in some other EU countries, mainly in East Europe, Czech government official Gabriela Hrabanova told CTK yesterday in reaction to an EU report, saying Czech Romanies are the most discriminated minority in the EU. Hrabanova, head of the Office of the Czech Government Council for Romany Issues, pointed out that Romanies in the neighbouring Slovakia and in Romania have worse living conditions than in the Czech Republic. The respective study of the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), released yesterday, was worked out on the basis of interviews with 23,000 refugees and members of ethnic minorities. According to the study, 64 percent of Romanies have been discriminated against in the Czech Republic in the past 12 months and 42 percent of Czech Romanies have become crime victims, being either assaulted or threatened. However, the Office of the Czech Government Council for Romany Issues, claims that the situation is actually not as alarming as the study shows. The FRA also mentions a high level of discrimination against Romanies in Hungary, Poland and Greece. Hrabanova cited the example of poor Romany settlements in Slovakia and Romania whose inhabitants have much worse living conditions than Czech Romanies. “Some of them live in a complete segregation, and this is why they do not even meet with discrimination,” she said. On the other hand, Czech Romanies live in contact with the majority society, and this is why they realise mutual differences more strongly, she added. Moreover, discrimination is being discussed very much in the Czech Republic, Hrabanova said. The FRA was assessing experiences of the ethnic minorities’ members with discrimination in various spheres of everyday life: when seeking jobs and housing, at work and at schools, in health care and social services, in cafes, restaurants and night clubs, as well as in shops and banks. The agency has found out that a high number of the minority members have fallen victim to crime in the past year. One in four respondents (24 percent) says he/she has fallen victim to crime in the past 12 months on average. The agency points out that these people mostly do not know that they can defend themselves against discrimination. According to the FRA study, up to two-thirds of the ethnic minorities’ members have been discriminated against in the EU countries in the past year, but most of the victims have not reported the cases. The situation might be similar in the Czech Republic. “We definitely do not know about so many people having turned to the police and authorities over discrimination,” Hrabanova said.
© The Prague Daily Monitor

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