Czech NGO working with Roma responds to disinformation spread by Kremlin copycat party
The IQ Roma servis organization has responded to a recent press release from the Tricolor movement led by Václav Klaus, Jr. News server Romea.cz is presenting their response here in full translation:
Dear Ms Šichtařová, Dear Tricolor civic movement,
First of all, allow me to thank you for the publicity you have dedicated to our association in your press release of 28 November 2019. It is, however, probably true that among the spectrum of those who could consider voting for your movement, such publicity just ignites emotions and strengthens the wedge issues that are currently dividing society.
I am forced to respond and to object to your categorization of the IQ Roma servis, z.s. association under the "label" of a political nonprofit. Your argument that we previously conducted an investigation in the area of discrimination is about something that we do not see as a political subject.
That investigation was about researching the functioning of the Anti-discrimination Act in practice. The form of test cases may not be the most fortunate one, but as long as the burden of proof remains on the victims, there are not many other instruments available for proving that discrimination has happened (this is also our conclusion after consulting with the Czech Trade Inspection Authority).
Your movement, naturally, advocates for absolutely denying the existence of discrimination. Drawing attention to loopholes in our legal system, however, does not belong in the category of political subject matter, but is rather a topic for an active civil society to investigate.
What your press release states about our investigations undertaken in the area of discrimination is incomplete and mendacious, in part. It is incomplete because the test cases also concerned other areas that you fail to mention, e.g., access to education, health care, etc.
Your press release is deceptive when it alleges that we (our staffers) requested "compensation" for the discrimination discovered. That is simply not true and no such payment was ever made to anybody.
You may have confused the idea of "compensation" with the monetary punishment (the fines) handed down by the court in that case. You certainly could have especially mentioned our other successes, whether they be our much-appreciated campaign called "We Are Working", or the contribution we have made to developing projects working according to the "Housing First" principle.
From a general standpoint, the IQ Roma servis, z.s. association has never interfered with, been involved in, or assessed the policies of any political coalitions, movements or parties. To do so is not in accordance with our mission and vision and is not appropriate for us to do as an association.
Our long-term efforts, on the contrary, have been to be as beneficial a partner as possible to the state administration and to local governments, exactly because we have unique knowledge to offer them from the field. The most horrifying fact, however, is that your press release assesses the activity of our association while at the same time absolutely ignoring the fact that the merit of our activity consists in our providing registered social services, which are naturally subsidized from state, regional and municipal resources because they are necessary, and the assessment of their necessity, under the current legislation, is done by the Regional Authorities.
Your press release also ignores the fact that we are one of 22 organizations that have long qualified for the Mark of Reliability awarded by the Association of Public Benefit Organizations, which tells donors and foundations that we work economically, effectively, and in accordance with our mission. Lastly, allow me to provide you with some updated information that is publicly accessible (e.g., as part of our obligation to publish our financial statements and our report on our activity in the collection of documents in the register of associations).
You have dated the information provided in your press release about our budget as coming from the year 2017, but given the date on which your press release was published, it would be more appropriate to present data for 2018. During that year, the number of our full-time positions was 63.33 and we managed a budget of almost CZK 29 million [EUR 1,141,150].
As of 4 December 2019, our qualification for the Mark of Reliability mentioned above was once again confirmed. I believe you will be able to find any other information you require about our organization on your own.
Wishing you a great deal of strength for your next political struggle,
Petr Máčal, Director
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