Czech govt to approve agency against social exclusion in December
The Czech government will probably approve the agency to fight against social exclusion in December, Minister Dzamila Stehlikova (Greens), in charge of minorities and human rights, told CTK today.
The agency is to start working in January (more here...). Its employees will first work in ten selected towns and villages in Bohemia and Moravia where Romany ghettos exist. Both big towns and villages with ghettoes in the centre and on the outskirts will be chosen to explore various conditions.
According to a recently made analysis, over 300 deprived houses and neighbourhoods exist in the Czech Republic. They are inhabited mainly by Romanies whose total is estimated at up to 80,000.
A majority of adults at these places are unemployed, the families live in often inappropriate conditions and they depend on social benefits. Most children attend special schools.
The government pledged to set up the agency in its policy statement. The Government Council for Romany Affairs approved the agency's programme in September. Particular ministries can now comment on it.
Stehlikova said she believes that the government would not raise fundamental objections to the documentation on the agency and would approve it smoothly.
"The 2008 budget reckons with finances to kick off the agency," she said, adding that the agency has a chance to gain subsidies from the EU funds.
Some 70 towns and villages have expressed interest in the services of the agency that will have 15 employees. The agency shortlisted 30 of which it will select ten. Ostrava, north Moravia, with a strong Romany population, will be probably among them, along with Prague and Brno.
The agency personnel is to teach local self-rule bodies, associations, schools, labour offices, firms and inhabitants from problematic localities to cooperate so that the ghettos might eventually be eliminated, or turned into regular neighbourhoods.
"The pilot phase will map what measures really work. Only then the agency will expand all over the country not to waste the enormous resources allocated to this field," Stehlikova said.
The agency is also to help municipalities draw finances from EU funds.
Stehlikova said she believes that the established cooperation with local organisations and self-governing bodies would not end after the local elections to be held next year and possible re-shuffles in municipal authorities.
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Tags:Czech republic, agency
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