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Czech ministry prepares programme against social exclusion

Prague, 20.8.2008 9:51, (ROMEA)

The Czech Local Development Ministry has been working on a programme instructing municipalities on how to help people from socially excluded localities, Josef Balaz, one of the authors of the programme, told journalists today.

Balaz said he believed no Czech town was able to cope with the problem of Romany ghettoes at present.

"The programme's ambition is to give municipalities a simple recipe on how to deal with the problem," he said.

The main idea is that social integration is connected with the education, employment and accommodation of Romanies.

Balaz said money for solving the problem should go to municipalities that present a comprehensive programme to help those socially excluded.

He said the government should earmark more money for such programmes. The more this investment is postponed, the higher it will have to be, he pointed out.

The Local Development Ministry is headed by Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) chairman Jiri Cunek who was strongly criticised over Romany issues in the past by NGOs and some other politicians.

When Cunek was mayor of Vsetin, north Moravia, in 2006, Vsetin authorities moved several Romany families from the town's centre.

Cunek was also criticised for his Romany integration ideas.

Representatives of several Czech ministries and the Agency for Social Integration today agreed that the issue of Romanies' social exclusion should be coordinated and controlled by a single office.

The Czech cabinet is to discuss the situation of Czech Romanies at its meeting on Wednesday.

CTK
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