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February 19, 2020
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Czech media reports Human Rights Commissioner co-authored communist-era paper alleging Roma are predetermined to commit crimes

17.1.2020 18:42
Helena Válková (PHOTO: ANO party archive)
Helena Válková (PHOTO: ANO party archive)

The Seznam Zprávy news server has reported that Helena Válková, a former Justice Minister and current Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner, contributed during the 1980s to research while working at the Criminological Research Institute of the Prosecutor-General of the Czech and Slovak Socialist Republic that focused on the delinquent population of juvenile "cikáni". In an anthology entitled Current Questions in Combating the Criminality of Youth and Associated Negative Phenomena (Aktuální otázky boje s kriminalitou mládeže a související negativní jevy), she and her co-authors describe in detail why exactly "cikáni" allegedly have a tendency to commit crimes.

Immediately in the introduction to the anthology, the staffers who authored it, Válková included, reference publications by the communist Czechoslovak Prosecutor Josef Urválek, who also studied the criminality of youth, and the chapter co-authored by Válková claims that young delinquents are most influenced by their cultural and social background and their family. "This fact is especially striking among the population of cikánský origin, where every fourth person is a delinquent," the 1983 publication reads.

According to the ROMEA nonprofit organization, the primary aim of which is to contribute to rehabilitating Romanipen and the Romani minority, it is problematic that the Human Rights Commissioner contributed to such research. The study implies a causal link between Romani culture and the delinquency of Romani perpetrators.

"Research has shown that the vast majority of juvenile cikánský delinquents have lived a significant part of their lives under the influence of defective persons in the nuclear family, i.e., those to whom they were bound by the closest family ties. A significant portion of their fathers and mothers were alcoholics, and their siblings also often enjoyed alcohol at an increased rate," the publication reads.

"We cannot infer any racist motives of Ms Válková on the basis of this publication, but we can infer the liability of the then-regime and its lack of criticism with respect to its own responsibility for systemic discrimination and its attempt to assimilate Romani people," the ROMEA organization said to the Seznam Zprávy news server. "The post of Human Rights Commissioner should be held by a morally strong person of consistent opinions who takes a clear attitude towards human rights. We are concerned that Ms Válková does not have those qualities," said Jitka Votavová, a project manager there.

redakce, Seznam Zprávy, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Cikán, Komunismus, Lidská práva, Zmocněnec



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