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Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner: Czech authorities must clearly oppose anti-Romani hate campaign

Strasbourg, France, 23.10.2013 17:10, (ROMEA)
Nils Muižnieks (PHOTO: www.coe.int)
Nils Muižnieks (PHOTO: www.coe.int)

The Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner, Nils Muižnieks, has expressed uneasiness over the ongoing hate campaign against Romani people in the Czech Republic. Muižnieks says that campaign is manifesting itself in regular anti-Romani marches and now, prior to the elections to parliament this weekend, in displays of racism intended to gain political capital.  

In a statement released today, Muižnieks said the Czech authorities must send a forceful signal that they will tolerate neither hate crimes nor manifestations of hatred. "I am very disturbed by the ongoing anti-Romani demonstrations in the Czech Republic since the spring of this year. These marches are a clear attempt to spark hatred and violence against Romani people, human rights activists, and anyone else supporting peaceful relations between various communities in Czech society," Muižnieks said.   

The commissioner said the marches "continue to be organized practically every week at various places all over the entire Czech Republic despite interventions by the authorities and measures adopted to prevent violent clashes... Racist rhetoric has also recently become exacerbated ahead of the upcoming elections to parliament on 25 and 26 October, as some groups want to squeeze political capital out of the tension in community relations."

Muižnieks went on to say that "This is now a turning point at which the Czech authorities should increase their vigilance and take action in all conscience to prevent the escalation of these dangerous incidents bent on disturbing public order and social cohesion, action that will permanently ensure protection to all individuals and to the various groups in Czech society." In his view there is a need for "an even stronger signal" that the authorities "will not tolerate hate crimes or manifestations of hatred."  

The Council of Europe has long expressed criticism of the position of the Romani minority in the Czech Republic. This past February and again this past July, Muižnieks called on the Czech Republic to make more efforts to improve the position of Romani people there.

According to his February report, the segregation of Romani children in the schools remains a serious problem. The commissioner also reported that Romani people continue to be the most frequent victims of racially motivated violence in the Czech Republic.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Demonstrace, Extremism, Pochod, protiromský pochod, Council of Europe, Racism, Volby, Czech republic, Education, Election 2013, Hate violence, human rights, Neo-Nazism, news, Roma, Šikana



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