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Czech Govt Human Rights Commissioner on 8 April: Roma are still stereotyped here - let's get to know what we have in common and where we differ

8.4.2021 9:10
Helena Válková 2. 8. 2020 at Lety u Písku. (PHOTO: ROMEA TV)
Helena Válková 2. 8. 2020 at Lety u Písku. (PHOTO: ROMEA TV)

Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner Helena Válková, on the occasion of International Romani Day, says the stereotypical view of Romani people has lasted too long in Czech society and it is time to finally change it. She expressed appreciation for the fact that despite the pandemic, there will be concerts and discussions taking place online and on television that will communicate not just the rich cultural heritage of Romani tradition, but insight into the present. 

Válková said she is also glad the number of Romani people attending higher education is growing. "International Romani Day, which celebrates the culture and history of Europe's largest minority, is being commemorated for a second time during these difficult days that have so strongly impacted all of our lives. I am quite pleased that even in this complicated situation there will be concerts and discussions, online and on television, that will communicate not just the rich cultural traditions of Romani people, but will also introduce contemporary figures from many different areas," she said. 

"I am pleased that the Museum of Romani Culture, on the occasion of International Romani Day, is launching the second series of its cultural and historical podcasts. I am glad that interest in Romani literature is growing. I am glad the number of Romani college students, both men and women, is growing. I am glad that the civil society members of the Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs are contributing to a great degree in designing the strategic materials that are meant to improve the situation of the Romani minority in our country," she said.

"I am mentioning all of this exactly because a stereotypical view of Romani people has prevailed in our society for too long and it is high time we finally changed that. We have been living together in this territory for centuries. Let's take an interest in each other, let's acknowledge what we have in common and where we differ. We will find out that we have more in common than we thought," said the Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner.

On 8 April, Romani people celebrate International Romani Day worldwide. This year is the 50th anniversary of the significant day on which the historic first-ever World Roma Congress was held in Orpington near London in 1971 in the United Kingdom.

That congress laid the foundation for international collaboration by Romani people and the Romani movement achieved its international sociopolitical dimension on that occasion. Romani people annually commemorate their common culture, language and origin, their shared collaborations and unity, and above all their Romipen ("Romani-ness") on this day.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Helena Válková, human rights, International Roma Day, oslava



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