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Czech Govt Agency for Social Inclusion reviews local group working with Romani children after its head attacks the HateFree Culture initiative

17.5.2016 14:00
Director of the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion Radek Jiránek (PHOTO:  Agentura pro sociální začleňování)
Director of the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion Radek Jiránek (PHOTO: Agentura pro sociální začleňování)

The Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion perceives the current situation regarding remarks made by the chair of the Lampa organization, Jiří Hanzl, to the media and on social networking sites to be serious and will propose an agenda item for discussing this situation during the next meeting of its Local Partnership in the town of Ralsko. Agency Director Radek Jiránek announced the proposal in a statement released today.

The Agency is responding to information reported by news server Romea.cz that Hanzl, the head of Lampa, which works with Romani people, also supports the hate group Bloc against Islam and has verbally assaulted the Government's "HateFree Culture" initiative. "The current situation, with reference to the remarks made by Mr Hanzl, the chair of the Lampa club, in the media and on social networking sites is one we perceive to be serious. We do not identify with those remarks. The Agency will, at the next session of its Local Partnership in Ralsko, which is scheduled for June 2016, propose an agenda item for discussing this situation and related points, namely:  Whether these activities cross the line between private and public, whether they are in accordance with the principles of the Local Partnership in Ralsko, and whether they endanger the functionality of that platform," the director says in his statement, which news server Romea.cz publishes below in full translation.

Statement of Radek Jiránek regarding the Romea.cz article about the Lampa club

The director of the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion would like to correct some of the information presented in the article about the collaboration between the Agency and the Lampa club as published by the Romea.cz news server. On Thursday 12 May 2016, an article entitled "Předseda "romského" spolku podporuje Blok proti 

islámu. Agentura pro sociální začleňování s ním dále spolupracuje" was published on news server Romea.cz.

We disagree with the wording regarding the collaboration between the Agency and the Lampa club and we would like to add the following information. First of all, the Agency always begins its work with municipalities by establishing a Local Partnership platform.

These platforms are attended by representatives of local administrations, the state administration, schools, the nonprofit sector and others who might influence the situation of the socially excluded or those at risk of social exclusion in a particular location. All of the members of this platform are equal and the role of the Agency is to coordinate, to facilitate, and to provide expertise.

At the Local Partnership and in its working groups, the needs of the town and its inhabitants are analyzed and procedures for addressing them in a coordinated way are proposed. In the case of the Lampa club, it was never formally excluded from its membership in the Local Partnership of Ralsko.

On 21 March 2014, during a meeting of the Local Partnership of Ralsko, as a result of long-lasting disputes, a vote by the members present was held as to whether the Lampa club should continue to participate in the local platform. On the basis of the results of that vote, it was proposed to exclude the club from the Local Partnership of Ralsko.

That exclusion never formally happened, as it was subsequently ascertained that there had not been a quorum present at the meeting. On the basis of that fact, as of October 2015, representatives of Lampa again began to participate in the Local Partnership meetings.

While the Agency coordinates and leads each meeting of the Local Partnership through its local consultant, it cannot decide on its own whether to begin or end collaboration with any of the local actors. Such a decision can only be taken by the Local Partnership as a whole.

The Agency fully respects the rules for the conduct of Local Partnerships and therefore invalidated the decision to exclude the Lampa association from the Local Partnership in Ralsko; that was required by the rules irrespective of whether the Agency itself was in favor of terminating the cooperation with Lampa. The current situation, with reference to the remarks made by Mr Hanzl, the chair of the Lampa club, in the media and on social networking sites is one we perceive to be serious.

We do not identify with those remarks. The Agency will, at the next session of its Local Partnership in Ralsko, which is scheduled for June 2016, propose an agenda item for discussing this situation and related points, namely:  Whether these activities cross the line between private and public, whether they are in accordance with the principles of the Local Partnership in Ralsko, and whether they endanger the functionality of that platform.

The Agency actively strives to establish conditions promoting social inclusion on the basis of participation by local actors in the Local Partnership process. However, we cannot close our eyes to any eventual violation of the principles of our work by either the public or private activities of any of the local members of any Local Partnership, and we will review such situations when they arise.   

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Agentura pro sociální začleňování, Blok proti Islámu, Jiří Hanzl, Lampa, Nenávist, Xenophobia



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