Czech Govt Inter-ministerial Commission for Roma Community Affairs discusses education and the work of the media
The Office of Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner Monika Šimůnková has published a report from the most recent meeting of the Czech Government Inter-ministerial Commission for Roma Community Affairs. News server Romea.cz has looked into some of the details of that meeting. The session was led by the Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner, the Commission's executive Vice-Chair, Monika Šimůnková. The Commission's chair is Prime Minister Petr Nečas, but he was addressing the Chamber of Deputies at the time the meeting was held.
The meeting lasted several hours and reviewed many items. Members of the Commission were informed of a proposal to re-name the Agency for Social Inclusion in Roma Localities, which the Government will decide whether to approve next week. The change would remove the "in Roma Localities" section of the Agency's official name. The Government will meet next week to discuss the future of the Agency per se after 2012. The name of the Agency, therefore, will not necessarily be the most important aspect up for discussion.
According to Patrik Banga, a civil society member of the Commission, the most interesting point on the agenda was a presentation by Kateřina Kalistová, chair of the Council on Radio and Television Broadcasting (Rada pro rozhlasové a televizní vysílání), with whom options were discussed for how to most effectively prevent the media from maligning Romani people in general. The civil society members of the Commission issued a press release in May criticizing TV NOVA and other media outlets for this behavior, but did not specifically complain to the Council, so it was unable to concern itself with this problem.
Banga will be meeting with Kalistová again next week to review the details of filing a complaint with her. "We are also waiting for an analysis we commissioned of the TV NOVA broadcasting. We will take our next steps according to the results of that analysis," Banga told news server Romea.cz.
"The agenda was packed, we reviewed a great deal of material, but it really was worth it," Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner Monika Šimůnková told news server Romea.cz. She said she had the best feeling about the discussion on inclusion in education at the meeting, which she said was different than during previous sessions.
"Previously the representative of the Education Ministry would just say something and then nothing would happen. This time the contours of the information were more realistic. Vít Schorm, who represents the Czech Republic before the European Court of Human Rights, warned of the problems flowing from insufficient fulfillment of the judgment in the case of D. H. and others versus the Czech Republic," Šimůnková said. That judgment concerned the unjustified enrollment of Romani children into "special schools" (today called the "practical" or "specialized" schools).
"According to Mr Schorm, the Czech Republic could face enormous problems because of this," the Commissioner said. A representative of the Public Defender of Rights also addressed the meeting and reported on the recently published results of their research into the proportion of Romani children still attending the former "special schools" in the Czech Republic. "Mr Jakub Stárek, executive director of the Education Section at the Education Ministry then answered many questions, it was a very lively discussion. I have a good feeling that finally something is moving forward," Šimůnková said .
Representatives of Romani organizations were also invited to the Commission's meeting. Representatives of the Statewide Association of Romani People in the Czech Republic (Celostátní asociace Romů v ČR) reported on their meeting with Prime Minister Petr Nečas.
Čeněk Růžička, chair of the Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust (Výbor pro odškodnění romského holocaustu) also presented on his topic. He raised the permanent demand that the Government remove the pig farm from the site previously occupied by the concentration camp at Lety by Písek. He also proposed that the Documentation Center which is supposed to be erected at Hodonín by Kunštát, where another so-called "Gypsy camp" was run during the Protectorate, be located in either Brno or Prague instead. "It should be at a dignified location where as many people as possible can visit it," Růžička told Romea.cz.
The Commission also took note of the draft Report on the State of the Roma Minority in the Czech Republic for 2011 (Zpráva o stavu romské menšiny v České republice za rok 2011). That report quite thoroughly describes all areas of Romani integration into society, including their financial costs, and makes recommendations for the future. That report will be discussed by the Government within the next few weeks.
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