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July 6, 2022



Czech Interior Ministry plan to house Romani refugees from Ukraine scuppered by Regional Governors, four bids sought from private sector instead

5.5.2022 15:20
Vít Rakušan (PHOTO: ROMEA TV)
Vít Rakušan (PHOTO: ROMEA TV)

According to Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan (Mayors and Independents - STAN), the Czech authorities have asked four commercial facility operators to bid on providing housing to Romani refugees from Ukraine. They are also starting to accommodate the refugees in two state-owned buildings, he told reporters in the Chamber of Deputies. 

The minister said Regional Governors have rejected the use of most of the state-owned buildings on a list previously submitted to them by the Interior Ministry. He said capacities in the Czech Republic have been "exhausted" and accommodation is looking difficult for all refugees, not just those from the Romani minority. 

Rakušan reminded the press that Romani refugees from Ukraine insist on accommodation in bigger groups. "We offered some properties and for the most part they were not approved by Regional Authorities on the grounds that it would not be appropriate in that locality or that the building did not seem to be suitable," he said.

According to the minister, accommodation for all refugees can still be found after the necessary vetting. "We have currently asked for bids from four commercial facility operators willing to accommodate refugees. Two state-owned buildings have also been put into use in recent days," he said.

In practice, however, dozens of Romani refugees from Ukraine are sleeping at train stations or are being placed in makeshift tents. The minister again reminded the press that any refugees refusing the accommodation offered lose their protection.

Authorities are recommending such people return to Hungary if they hold a passport from there, as is frequently said to be the case, or that they return to Ukraine. Dual citizenship is one reason why refugees from Ukraine may not be eligible for temporary protection in the Czech Republic under agreements with the European Union. 

Citizens of Hungary, an EU Member States, should seek aid there. According to the Interior Minister, the Czech authorities are attempting to motivate such people to return to their country of origin. 

In addition, the Czech Republic is considering organizing transportation for such persons. The plan is being negotiated with Czech Minister of Transport Martin Kupka (Civic Democratic Party - ODS).

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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