Civil society members of Czech Govt Council on Roma Minority Affairs call on new ombudsman to meet
Some volunteer civil society members of the Czech Government Council for Roma Minority Affairs (RVZRM) object to the election of Stanislav Křeček as the Public Defender of Rights. They fear the basic meaning of that office's existence may be lost because Křeček, in his media statements, does not pay adequate respect to discrimination and human rights and does not take them seriously.
"We perceive national minority rights to be an important part of the job of the Public Defender of Rights. Recent European institution reports on the situation of the Roma minority clearly show that discrimination against Roma in society is a major cause of the failure of all national and transnational efforts to integrate Roma," reads the statement, which is signed by eight of the 12 current volunteer civil society members of the council.
In conclusion, the volunteer civil society members call on the new ombudsman to meet them in person. News server Romea.cz is publishing their statement below here in full translation.
Volunteer civil society members of the Czech Government Council for Roma Community Affairs express concern about Stanislav Křeček's election as Ombudsman
We, the civil society members of the Government Council for Roma Community Affairs, are concerned about Stanislav Křeček's election as Public Defender of Rights. We have been led to our concern, that the basic meaning of that office's existence may be lost, by his current media statements, in which he does not pay adequate respect to discrimination and human rights and does not take them seriously.
This attitude of the new Public Defender of Rights also contradicts the activities of this independent public institution (an Equality Body in an EU Member State) to help victims of discrimination and promote equal treatment. The agenda of the bodies to which such activities are delegated is based on anti-discrimination directives, namely: the Racial Equality Directive 2000/43, the directive on Equal Treatment of Men and Women in Access to Goods and Services No 2004/113 and the Recast Equal Gender Directive 2006/54/EC. The Czech Republic is an EU Member State that has an office of the ombudsman meant to perform its tasks in accordance with the above directives.
We perceive national minority rights to be an important part of the job of the Public Defender of Rights. Recent European institution reports on the situation of the Roma minority clearly show that discrimination against Roma in society is a major cause of the failure of all national and transnational efforts to integrate Roma.
Unequal treatment does not just concern socially excluded Romani persons, but also a high number of educated, fully-integrated, successful Romani families and individuals who have personal, regular experience of being treated like second-class citizens.
We also believe that the low percentage of official complaints filed with the Public Defender of Rights about such discrimination does not reflect the actual situation and results from a lack of legal education in this society and from the conditions under which discrimination can be sued over. Moreover, a large number of citizens have reduced access to counseling about their civil rights and the law because of their social exclusion.
Because of the above-mentioned facts, the figure of Mr. Křeček, by means of his aforementioned media statements about the need to "defend the rights of the majority society", raises our concern and our distrust that this office, under his leadership, will put defending the rights of minorities on the back burner.
We therefore propose a personal meeting between the members of the civil society section of the RVZRM and Stanislav Křeček where we will welcome discussion of the future of human rights protections and the role of the ombudsman.
Civil society members of the RVZRM:
- Mgr. Jan Husák, místopředseda za občanskou část
- Čeněk Růžička
- Josef Stojka
- Bc. Zdeněk Guži
- Štefan Oláh
- Iveta Theuserová
- Bc. Tomáš Ščuka
- Petr Torák, MBE
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