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Amnesty International Czech Republic strongly objects to senators' remarks about Roma

Prague, 1.12.2013 18:10, (ROMEA)
Mark Martin, director of Amnesty International Czech Republic. (Photo: www.amnesty.cz)
Mark Martin, director of Amnesty International Czech Republic. (Photo: www.amnesty.cz)

As news server Romea.cz previously reported, a recent session of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic on recommendations from the Council of the EU about Romani integration measures included remarks by some senators which revealed their antigypsyism, crassness, ignorance of the issue, and sense of superiority combined with a need to ridicule others. News server Romea.cz reached out to several figures from the NGO sphere and politics and asked them their opinion of the Senate's performance.

Some of those opinions have already been reported at http://www.romea.cz/en/news/czech/czech-figures-say-senate-session-on-roma-integration-full-of-collective-bame-hatred-ignorance-and-racism. Below is a statement from Mark Martin, director of the Czech branch of the human rights organization Amnesty International. 

We strongly object to the senators' remarks

During a recent performance by various senators on the floor of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, the following remark was made, for example, by Senator Jaroslav Doubrava:  "It has been recommended to us that we facilitate Romani access to education. You know, this might be considered an heretical idea, but I claim that those 'special schools' or whatever we call them today were essentially a gift from God for those children, because they do receive instruction there and the intensity of the instruction is adjusted to their capability and capacity. I insist it is an error to back down on this." 

Amnesty International Czech Republic (AI ČR) strongly objects both to Senator Doubrava's inexcusable ignorance of the practical schools and to his unsubstantiated claim about their benefits. On the contrary, AI ČR fully supports the finding of the European Court for Human Rights from the year 2007 in the case of D.H. and Others versus the Czech Republic that indirect, systematic discrimination of Romani children takes place in the Czech Republic precisely in those practical schools, and we further demand that Senator Doubrava respect the Czech Republic's obligation on the basis of this finding to support the accelerated implementation of measures to correct the situation.

Senator Doubrava's colleague Senator Jaroslav Kubera also declared, among other things, that "It is the lie of lies to say [the Roma] are not hard-working. A gypsy is capable of digging a 300-meter ditch to remove a cable to sell for scrap, but first he has to set fire to it." 

AI ČR is of the opinion that remarks of such a racist, speculative nature are not worthy of a senator. Senator Kubera should hear not only from us, but also from the leaders of all political parties that such statements from a public official are a disgrace to the Czech Republic and to all representatives of the Czech public. 

Czech society does not need such declarations from its senators and other leaders. On the contrary, what society needs are constructive solutions to the situation of Romani people in the Czech Republic, which has been described by the many documented cases of their indirect discrimination. 

Mark Martin, director
Amnesty International Czech Republic

redakce, Mark Martin, director, Amnesty International Czech Republic, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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EU, Council of the EU, Politika, Roma, Senát, Amnesty International



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