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Czech presidential candidate: Loan sharks shouldn't be tolerated

Prague, 8.1.2013 22:53, (ROMEA)
Jana Bobošíková
Jana Bobošíková

News server Romea.cz has prepared a questionnaire for candidates running in what will be the first-ever direct election of the president of the Czech Republic. We asked all of the candidates, among other things, about their strategies for addressing the issue of social exclusion and their opinions on the integration of the Romani minority, particularly on how they intend to achieve improvements in that direction. We were also interested in their approach toward right-wing extremists, toward the issue of segregating pupils in primary schools, and toward the case of the pig farm located on the site of a WWII-era forced labor camp for Romani people.

We are publishing the responses in the order in which the candidates send them to us. The sixth person to respond to our questions was Jana Bobošíková, chair of the Suverenita ("Sovereignty") party.

Q: Do you take a "programmatic" or "systemic" approach to minorities in society, or do you understand the citizens of the country purely in individual terms?

A: I understand every person in the Czech Republic, irrespective of their national minority status, their ethnic affiliation, or their skin color, to be a citizen of our state with the same rights and same responsibilities as everyone else. I am fundamentally against any kind of discrimination, including positive discrimination.

Q: In your view, are the rights of the Romani minority in the Czech Republic sufficiently fulfilled?

A: I am of the opinion that the civil rights of all citizens of the Czech Republic can continue to be deepened with respect to human freedom, in which I also believe.

Q: Are politicians here responding adequately and sufficiently to racist or xenophobic events - for example, to the anti-Romani demonstrations being held by extremists? Are politicians here responding adequately and with sufficient speed to events that may not be extremist, but that are connected to protests against Romani people?

A: The majority of politicians overlook the problem of racial discrimination, but they have also partially resigned themselves when it comes to enforcing the performance of civic duties by the many citizens who do not meet their obligations. That then logically creates tensions.

Q: In your view, is it important to start addressing the social exclusion experienced by a rising number of citizens in the Czech Republic and the poverty related to it?

A: It is necessary to start addressing social exclusion, and it should be done comprehensively. I reject the approach that allows loan sharks and speculators to make money on the citizens living in socially excluded localities.

Q: What should the overall strategy for correcting social exclusion and all its related phenomena look like?

A: I apologize, but requires an extensive discussion, for which there is no room here. The government tools of social policy, health care policy, and security policy must be combined with the tools of public administration and the business sector so that social welfare and other benefits are targeted and so the state has a precise idea of what the aim of its investment into citizens living in socially excluded areas is. In addition to humanitarianism and solidarity, this should produce a state of affairs that supports customary social habits, including medical check-ups, school attendance, and efforts to find work.

Q: Despite various efforts, Romani children are still segregated educationally in the Czech schools, either because they are sent to the practical (special) primary schools or because they attend segregated classes in mainstream primary schools. Would you speak out against this phenomenon?

A: I have constantly spoken out against everything smacking of xenophobia, racism, and everything that suppresses civil rights (the right to education is guaranteed by the Constitution). Segregation according to skin color or ethnic affiliation is that sort of phenomenon.

Q: What kinds of solutions for correcting it would you propose?

A: It is necessary to thoroughly separate children who cannot keep up due to their mental deficiencies from healthy children. Special care must then be devoted to mentally disabled children.

Q: Would you call for the removal of the pig farm located on the territory of the former so-called "gypsy camp" at Lety by Písek?

A: I regularly visit sites concerning the genocide of the Second World War. I visit Terezín, Lidice, Ležáky and I have visited Ravensbrueck. Should it fit into my program, I will visit the remembrance sites you mention.

Q: Would you call for the removal of the pig farm located on the territory of the former so-called "gypsy camp" at Lety by Písek?

A: I don't know.

Q: You often speak in generalizations about Romani people. Does that sort of populist move, tarring everyone with the same brush, contribute to good coexistence? Shouldn't a presidential candidate rather be bringing people together and cultivating social cohesion?

A: I have never made generalizations with respect to Romani people. I don't distinguish between Non-Romanies and Romanies. I only know citizens of the Czech Republic who have rights and responsibilities.

František Kostlán, Zdeněk Ryšavý, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Tags:  

Děti, Diskriminace, Hodonín u Kunštátu, Holocaust, koncentrační tábor, Lety u Písku, Osobnosti, Prezidentské volby, Inkluzivní vzdělávání, Romové, romské oběti nacismu, Czech republic, Education, genocide, History, Populism, Prezidentská anketa, Roma



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