Czech Gov't Agency for Social Inclusion staff protest removal of director
Staff members of the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion have sent an open letter to Czech Human Rights Minister Dienstbier protesting his removal of the Agency's director. News server Romea.cz brings you their letter in full translation below:
Dear Minister Dienstbier,
We are writing to express our extreme unease over your recent steps concerning the Agency for Social Inclusion, steps we are convinced might mean a significant attenuation of or even the complete collapse of the existing Department for Social Inclusion (the Agency) where we work. As a consequence, one of the most effective tools the Government of the Czech Republic has for combating social exclusion would be damaged.
First and foremost, this concerns the sudden removal of Martin Šimáček, director of the Agency for Social Inclusion, which occurred yesterday. Naturally you have the full right to take such a decision, but we must say that we consider it completely unfair, based on pretexts, and based on incorrect information about the activity of the Agency. Martin Šimáček, thanks to his personal and professional competence, as well as the absolutely enormous amount of work he has done, is one of the most outstanding figures in social inclusion policy in the Czech Republic and will be difficult to replace.
We must point out to you that the entire team of the Agency stands behind Martin Šimáček. By removing him, the Agency will lose its leader at a critical time when the relevant operational programs of the European Structural and Investment Funds are being finalized. Currently we are designing ways for municipalities to draw on this financing in order to aid socially excluded people. Your decision will disrupt the continuity of negotiations, not just with the relevant ministries, but mainly with many cities, communities, Regional Authorities and our other partners.
We are also seriously concerned about the planned reorganization of the Human Rights Section. This reorganization will mean the division of the Agency and the separation of its local activities from its expert section which is developing essential know-how in all areas of social inclusion. At a practical level, this will mean a significant restriction in the operations of the Agency as an effective tool for inclusion at local level. The notion that effective collaboration with cities and communities can occur without the work of analysts is completely erroneous, according to our experience in the field so far.
This devastating organizational change has been proposed without the work of the Agency for Social Inclusion having been evaluated, without changing its aims or instruments, without any expert discussion, and without being discussed at the Czech Government Inter-ministerial Commission for Romani Community Affairs. For all of these reasons, we unequivocally disagree with your decisions. Such a step, in our view, will precipitate a significant uncertainty among the cities and communities collaborating with the Agency and will destabilize social inclusion policy in the Czech Republic.
We ask that you reconsider this entire situation, cancel your decision to remove the director, and cancel the planned reorganization of the Agency as a whole. We are not happy that we have had to choose the non-standard solution of this open letter, but we have decided to proceed this way because the situation is serious.
Thank you in advance for considering our arguments. We believe that together we can succeed in preventing the destruction of the six years of work we have performed under the direction of Martin Šimáček. Social inclusion must be addressed both conceptually and systematically, otherwise there is no point. That is the only way all of the opportunities opening up for the Czech Republic will be taken advantage of.
- Will the Czech Gov't Agency for Social Inclusion survive its director's departure?
- Czech Republic: Romani figures respond to removal of director of Agency for Social Inclusion
- Former director of Czech Gov't Agency for Social Inclusion says its future is uncertain
- Czech Human Rights Minister removes director of Agency for Social Inclusion
- Czech Agency for Social Inclusion director gives interview about state support during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Czech socially excluded localities see limited services due to COVID-19, nonprofit staffers lack protective gear
- Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion praises town for using EU funds to create social housing
- Michal Miko: Czech ministries are boycotting experts' attempts to introduce social housing
- Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion publishes analysis of segregation in primary schools
- Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion objects to disinformation published about its proposals for infamous housing estate
- Czech Government has not yet decided whether to move Agency for Social Inclusion to Regional Development Ministry
- Czech Government decides today on moving Agency for Social Inclusion to the Regional Development Ministry
- Czech Govt Agency for Social Inclusion does not support new investment into infamous housing estate properties
- EU-funded project promoting health literacy in socially excluded communities of the Czech Republic
- Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion criticizes housing benefit-free zones
- Czech Govt Agency for Social Inclusion distances itself from group led by candidate for party using racist slogan