MINELRES: ERRC Calls on Canada to Press Czech Republic on Anti-Romani Discrimination

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri Jul 17 08:34:21 2009

Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>

ERRC Calls on Canada to Press Czech Republic on Anti-Romani

Budapest, Prague, 15 July 2009:  Responding to the Government of
Canada’s announcement that it was re-imposing visa requirements on Czech
nationals due to the influx of Czech Roma asylum seekers, the European
Roma Rights Centre yesterday called on the Canadian Government to
address the root cause of Roma claims, namely persistent discrimination
against the Roma minority in the Czech Republic and throughout Europe.  

The recent rise in asylum applications by Roma from the Czech Republic
correlates to a well-documented rise in neo-Nazi activity throughout the
country. Last November, television viewers worldwide watched video
footage as 1,000 police officers were deployed to keep order as
rampaging neo-Nazis tried to march on the Roma at the Litvinov’s Janov
housing estate, setting fire to police vehicles and pelting the police
with rocks and bottles resulting in injuries to 17 people. Prosecution
of the perpetrators has not yet yielded any result, as is so often the
case when crimes are perpetrated against Roma. In subsequent months,
extremist political parties continued to drum up pressure against the
Romani community in Litvinov and elsewhere in the country.

Anti-Romani violence and vitriol in the Czech Republic have continued
unabated in 2009.  In April of this year, attackers firebombed the home
of a Czech Romani family, causing severe injury to a two-year-old girl,
who is still fighting for her life in hospital after suffering
third-degree burns over 80% of her body. Violence is not the only
problem the Czech Roma face. Although declared illegal in 2007 by the
European Court of Human Rights,[1] the Government continues to foster
systemic discrimination against Romani children by tracking healthy
Romani children into schools intended for children with disabilities.[2]
Moreover, the Czech government has yet to acknowledge and remedy the
coercive sterilization of Romani women.[3]

In its letter to the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and
Multiculturalism, the ERRC called on the Canadian Government to 1)
acknowledge the Czech Republic’s shortcomings in its treatment of the
Roma minority; 2) stop the blanket stigmatization of Roma asylum seekers
as false refugees; 3) continue the review of asylum claims on a
case-by-case basis; and 4) offer Canadian expertise in helping the Czech
Republic build a multiethnic and multicultural society free of extremist

Robert Kushen, Managing Director of ERRC, stated: “The Canadian
Government has a laudable record in building a multilingual and
multi-ethnic society that respects, protects and promotes human rights. 
We hope that Canada can assist the Czech Republic in building a similar
society so that Roma people will not need to seek protection and a
better life elsewhere.”

The full text of the letter is available at: 

For further information, contact:

Sinan Gokcen, ERRC Information Officer, sinan.gokcen@errc.org,

Gwendolyn Albert, Peacework Development Fund,
gwendolyn.albert@gmail.com, +420.774.895.444


[1] D.H. and Others v. The Czech Republic.

[2] Romea, Romani pupils attend “special schools” more often than
others, 3 July 2009,

[3] “Zaverecne stanovisko verejneho ochrance prav ve veci sterilizaci
provadenych v rozporu s pravem a navrhy opatreni k naprave”, Sp. zn.:
3099/2004/VOP/PM a nasl., V Brne dne 23. 12. 2005. 


The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the human rights situation of Roma and
provides legal defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more
information about the European Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC on the
web at http://www.errc.org 

To support the ERRC, please visit this link:

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Tel: +36.1.413.2200

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