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August 15, 2020



Petr Uhl

Author's articles

Petr Uhl
Petr Uhl

Commentary: The thorny path of Romani emancipation from Czechoslovakia to today's Czech Republic

2.11.2018 12:43 It has been 50 years since I first encountered the call for Romani emancipation. I was in Paris when the "fraternal" Warsaw Pact armies occupied Czechoslovakia in 1968, and after arriving back home by train to Prague's Smíchov station, I went into the restaurant there.  full story

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Commentary: Romani children in the Czech schools

1.11.2016 7:35 News server published a news item several days ago about the Czech Education Ministry tracking the number of Romani and socially disadvantaged children currently being educated using the "Framework Education Program for Pupils with Mild Mental Disability". That particular curriculum has been used up until now in the "practical" primary schools.  full story

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Commentary: The Miss Roma competition does more harm than good

25.9.2016 18:29 On Saturday evening the "Miss Roma 2016" competition was held at the House of Culture in the Czech town of Hodonín for the 12th year in a row. I have always had mixed feelings about this contest, but I have never before publicly discussed what bothers me about it because it was always clear to me that it involves a significant emancipatory charge for some Romani community members.  full story

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Analysis: When the Czech Police contribute to disseminating hatred toward Romani people

1.9.2016 17:38 Whoever publicly incites hatred of a nation, race, ethnic group, religion, class or other group of person, or incites the restriction of the rights and freedoms of the members of such a group, is supposed to be punished in the Czech Republic by up to two years in prison. That is the wording of the Criminal Code (Section 356), which also authorizes the same punishment in cases of rioting or conspiring to commit the offense of incitement to hatred.  full story

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Petr Uhl: British Tories and the Czech ODS are two Trojan horses inside the EU

27.6.2016 14:47 The European Union should change. The form of that change, however, will now be the subject of much discussion, as there are very different ideas for it being proposed.  full story

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Commentary: Romipen is democratic, enriching not just Romani people but Czech society, Europe and the world

4.4.2016 21:27 Friday 8 April will be International Romani Day. In the Czech Republic the largest number of events on this day will be held in Brno.  full story

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Analysis: Apartheid and segregation are being applied to Romani schoolchildren in the Czech Republic

24.3.2016 2:03 Romani children comprise almost one-third of the pupils who now attend schools previously referred to as "special schools" (zvláštní školy) even though less than 3 % of the population of the Czech Republic is Romani. That fact was reported by the international human rights protection organization Amnesty International (AI) in February in a report entitled "Must Try Harder - Ethnic Discrimination of Romani Children in Czech Schools".  full story

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Analysis: Czech Police are confusing lawful behavior with "left-wing extremism"

4.3.2016 18:55 In September 1998, 17 years ago, the Antifa initiative held a march in the Czech city of Brno under the slogan "Blacks, whites, let's unite!" and "Why see difference when nothing divides us?!" The organizer of that march, Dušan Rosenbaum, said at the close of the demonstration that racism and fascism were more than just a problem for Jews, Roma and other persons of color here, but had also become a problem for LGBT people, those living with disabilities, ethnic minorities, humanists and human rights defenders: "Let's prevent conflict arising from natural human diversity, whether it be ethnic, cultural, national, racial or sexual," he warned.  full story

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Commentary by Petr Uhl: "The Jew Hilsner from Polná was unjustly convicted of the murder of the Christian, Hrůzová"

7.1.2016 23:03 I have borrowed the headline for this commentary from yesterday's news reports published by several Czech media outlets. The full headline was: "Leopold Hilsner, a resident of the Jewish ghetto in Polná, was unjustly convicted of the murder of the Christian, Hrůzová."  full story

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Commentary: Is Czech society about to rid itself of anti-Gypsyist MEP Miloslav Ransdorf?

10.12.2015 4:32 I have known Miloslav Ransdorf since June 1990, when we were both elected as legislators in the Federal Assembly of Czechoslovakia - he for the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, I for Civic Forum (Občanské fórum). We did not see eye to eye there despite my cooperation with most of his comrades in that parliament.  full story

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Commentary: Martin Konvička, the crime of preparing apartheid and the segregation of Romani children

22.11.2015 13:23 It occurred to one journalist to ask a police spokesperson whether the Police of the Czech Republic are undertaking an investigation or proceedings concerning incitement to hatred of religion in connection with the group called "We Don't Want Islam in the Czech Republic". Its representative, Martin Konvička, was seconded on Tuesday, 17 November, by the President of the Republic, Miloš Zeman - alongside representatives of the ultra-right "Dawn" (Úsvit) and the Citizens' Rights Party (SPO) - at a demonstration at Albertov in Prague.  full story

Commentary by Petr Uhl: We will not give up!

Ostrava, 8.8.2012 0:14, (ROMEA) In recent days I have heard and read the following phrases in the news: "They've been given an ultimatum... "- "They have to move out..." (the Building Works Authority ordered them to) - or "Officials are controlling...". Municipal and state bodies are supposed to help people rather than "control" them. They are supposed to meet their own legal obligations. The Building Works Authority, which called for the buildings on Přednádraží street in Ostrava to be vacated, is not authorized to order an eviction. Only a court is authorized to do that, and it must address its instructions to specific individuals.  full story

Commentary by Petr Uhl: "They killed our Anežka, blue-eyed girl"

Prague, 8.5.2012 19:43, (ROMEA) "Masaryk, you deserve to swing with Hilsner!" Those are the lyrics to a Czech folk song dating from the turn of the 20th century. Professor Masaryk was "pleading the case" of Mr Hilsner, a Jewish man convicted of the murder of 19-year-old Anežka Hrůzová, a dressmaker from Věžnička u Polné. For taking this action, Masaryk was considered just as much of a criminal as Hilsner, if not worse. Both of them "deserved to hang". For the vast majority of people, there was no doubt as to the guilt of Leopold Hilsner, who was a beggar and a wanderer.  full story

Commentary by Petr Uhl: It is a felony to disseminate hatred in the Czech Republic

Prague, 2.5.2012 17:48, (ROMEA) When a physical or verbal assault is committed against people who are homeless, homosexual, Jews, Muslims, Roma, or from any other group, those who evaluate the follow-up actions of the police and courts tend to differ in their opinions as to what should be prosecuted as a felony, what should be prosecuted as a misdemeanor, and what should be tolerated. Recently there has been a debate over the verdict of a court in Most acquitting three right-wing radicals for displaying the flag of the court-dissolved Workers' Party (Dělnická strana - DS). The state prosecutor considers that to be a movement aimed at suppressing human rights.  full story

Petr Uhl: How to handle the "violators" of public order

Prague, 2.10.2011 16:26, (ROMEA) Once during the olden days before 1989 I read in a humorous collection of court and police records the following statement made by a low-level official of the regime: "The suspect was disciplined three times, once by the caretaker of a fruit orchard." Yes, yes, pears are not to be stolen.  full story

Commentary: Roma children will be kept separate in the schools

Prague, 5.6.2011 14:56, (ROMEA) Are we to develop an education system in this country that is inclusive, or selective? In other words, are Roma children to be educated separately, or in the same classes and schools as non-Roma children?  full story

Commentary: Czech Government is responsible for anti-Gypsyism

Prague, 27.5.2011 18:59, (ROMEA) In 2006, the Mayor of Vsetín, Jiří Čunek (KDU-ČSL), evicted Roma tenants from municipal housing in the run-up to the Czech Senate elections. Of those tenants, 70 Roma from six families have fallen into indebtedness and poverty. Čunek was elected senator and then nominated Deputy Prime Minister. His later political difficulties were not due to his approach toward Roma people (which the ombudsman found illegal), but to suspicions of corruption. A study by the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion in Roma Localities now describes the poverty of the families he evicted and tells us how many millions of Czech crowns that eviction cost the municipalities into which the tenants were moved, the regional administrations, the state, and Vsetín itself.  full story

Commentary by Petr Uhl on Czech Police response in Nový Bydžov

Prague, 19.3.2011 21:49, (Právo) The state powers in communist Czechoslovakia once pretended to be anti-fascist. They exploited not only the suffering caused by the Nazis and the war, but also the completely just resistance that was made to those forces. How can the "revanchists" defend the fascists? the party/state would ask, pointing its finger at police protection for marches by right-wing radicals in West Germany and police interventions against the anti-fascists. Whoever protects the fascist is himself a fascist!  full story

Commentary: Why the Czech Police failed at Litvínov

Prague, 15.1.2011 21:25, (Právo) Eighteen years ago, human rights activist Ondřej Cakl was standing out in front of a rural pub as members of the extreme right were holding an "invitation-only" concert inside. Members of the police had arrived on the scene at Cakl's insistence, and he was pointing the skinheads out to them through the window: "There, there, they're giving the Nazi salute!" The police officers, however, said: "We don't see anything." One, turning to his colleague, asked, "Franta, do you see anything?" He didn't.  full story

Commentary: Actions, not attitudes, can be criminal

Prague, 21.11.2010 0:13, (Právo) The Municipal Court in Brno has handed down sentences (which have yet to take effect) against six members of the banned Workers' Party for their seditious speeches against foreigners and Roma and for their support of the neo-Nazi National Resistance association. They received suspended sentences of up to eight months in prison with two years' probation and fines of up to CZK 30 000.  full story

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