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July 6, 2022



Another "tent city" will be erected in the Czech capital for 150 refugees from Ukraine who are not eligible for temporary protection

24.5.2022 16:30
The "tent city" for Romani refugees from Ukraine in Prague's Troja neighborhood. (May 2022) (PHOTO: Fire Rescue Service Prague)

Another "tent city" for refugees from Ukraine will be built in the Malešice neighborhood of Prague on 31 May; Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan (Mayors and Independents - STAN) has agreed on the location with the Mayor of Prague, Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates). Public broadcaster Czech Television's reporting of the plan has been confirmed by Interior Ministry spokesperson Jakub Veinlich. 

The Malešice "tent city" should have a capacity of 150 people. Prague is allegedly struggling with a big influx of refugees from Ukraine and a lack of space for them. 

"Another tent city will be built in Malešice, intended for emergency humanitarian aid. That means it is for people who are not eligible for temporary protection in the Czech Republic, or for any benefits, but who have been living inside the main train station, normally, or in front of the main train station, and we will provide them with the basic things they need," said the Interior Minister. 

At the end of May, aid delivered by volunteers will end for refugees from Ukraine at the main train station; according to the Interior Minister, a Romani nonprofit organization will work with the refugees in Malešice, explain their prospects for staying in the Czech Republic to them, and inform them that they can travel to Hungary free of charge by Czech rail. Writing in his blog on news server Aktuálně.cz yesterday, Rakušan said that it is necessary to aid all refugees from Ukraine and that it is not possible to leave those who are not eligible for any assistance in the Czech Republic at the main railway station in Prague without any help whatsoever. 

"[I]n our common crisis, when mothers and their children are sleeping on the cold ground, there is no way we can renounce our responsibility by saying that we are proceeding correctly in terms of the law. Therefore, I am looking for ways to help those Romani refugees from Ukraine who have found themselves in the trap of geopolitical clashes and in a legal vacuum through the interplay of many unfortunate circumstances. I consider it my obligation to help these victims. It is a manifestation of our humanity. Humanism," added the Interior Minister, who is convinced "that we owe it to the Roma."

The first "tent city" was established in mid-May in Prague's Troja neighborhood and also serves especially for refugees who have been living at the main railway station in Prague, especially families of Romani Ukrainians; the refugees are supposed to stay there while the authorities decide whether they are eligible for temporary protection visas. On the very first weekend of operations that facility was practically full when 142 refugees from Ukraine took shelter there; the capacity of the "tent city" is 150 beds. 

Today, the main railway station in Prague will also open an information booth to inform refugees about the opportunities for and terms of residency in the Czech Republic, the Interior Minister said. According to him, the ministry has had a leaflet printed in Hungarian and Ukrainian with the information that if refugees have a Hungarian passport, they are not entitled to temporary protection in the Czech Republic.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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