Czech Human Rights Minister on International Romani Day: Quality education, more awareness of Romani culture, history, language all important
According to Czech Minister for Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Legislation Jiří Dienstbier, a quality education is an essential prerequisite for improving the position of Romani people in society. It is also important to increase awareness of Romani culture, history and language.
The minister made his remarks in a press release issued on the occasion of International Romani Day. "As Human Rights Minister, I perceive the creation of room for discussion of the Goverment's approaches to Romani integration to be an important task. Through the Office of the Czech Government Inter-ministerial Council on Romani Community Affairs we have designed the Romani Integration Strategy to 2020, which focuses not just on the situation of Romani people living in excluded localities, but also considers the process of integration as requiring the comprehensive synchronization of everything that needs to happen throughout all of society, both on the side of this minority and on the side of the majority population, to achieve integration," Dienstbier said.
"In that context, I would like to highlight the necessity of a quality education as an essential prerequisite for improving the position of Romani people in society. The recent amendment to the Schools Act should aid this, as it introduces measures aiming to support pupils' specific needs so they can successfully be accepted among and included by children from the majority population. The mandatory final year of nursery school for all pupils should also contribute to this aim," Dienstbier said.
According to the minister, increasing awareness of Romani culture, history and language is no less important to Romani integration. Only a minority with a healthy self-awareness can successfully develop itself.
"I consider it important, therefore, that the Government is supporting institutions such as the Museum of Romani Culture, which presents the culture and history of Romani people and holds many educational events, film screenings, lectures and talks on many topics," Dienstbier said. His statement also mentioned other significant state-supported activities, including the Khamoro Festival, which last year was presented both in Prague and in Plzeň, which was a European Capital of Culture in 2015.
The Czech Culture Ministry regularly supports Romani-language magazines and newspapers, and in 2015 such support was given to, for example, the Romani magazine Kereka, the Romano hangos periodical and the Romano džaniben journal. "The Government's campaign against hate violence, the so-called HateFree Culture campaign, is also dedicated to strengthening social cohesion and combating prejudice and is part of my agenda," Dienstbier said.
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