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Czech politician says aid to the needy should not be "based on ethnicity"

19.5.2017 11:50
Ivan Langr, Deputy Mayor for Culture, Education and Social Affairs, met with the German organization Gesellschaft für Arbeit und Soziales to discuss how the city addresses social inclusion. Staffers of the local D.R.A.K. civic association joined the discussion. (PHOTO:  www.liberec.cz)
Ivan Langr, Deputy Mayor for Culture, Education and Social Affairs, met with the German organization Gesellschaft für Arbeit und Soziales to discuss how the city addresses social inclusion. Staffers of the local D.R.A.K. civic association joined the discussion. (PHOTO: www.liberec.cz)

The City of Liberec issued a press release yesterday announcing that the Deputy Mayor of Liberec for Culture, Education and Social Affairs, Ivan Langr, had met with the German organization Gesellschaft für Arbeit und Soziales to discuss how the city addresses social inclusion and that social services staffers from the local D.R.A.K. civic association who work with national minorities, refugees and socially excluded persons joined the discussion as well. According to the press release, those participating all agreed that applying an "ethnic approach" to social inclusion is bad in principle, doesn't work and is ethically dubious.

"We absolutely agreed that all aid to and work with socially excluded inhabitants should be based on including individuals without distinguishing their ethnic origins," the press release quotes Langr as saying. "That is our only chance of avoiding repeating the various tragedies of human history, because the ethnic approach in principle has always divided people and is dividing them now, not bringing them together."

"Aid through individual inclusion, on the other hand, is much more effective because it directly targets specific families and individuals," the press release quotes Langr as saying. Lenka Bobvošová of the D.R.A.K. civic association is quoted as saying "Our association's mission is to aid and support socially endangered groups, and we too incline toward addressing the individual needs of persons who have ended up in unfavorable life and social situations irrespective of their affiliations, nationality or religion, as none of that corresponds to how interventions by the state are differentiated."

The City of Liberec since last year has been following the Czech Government's Strategy for Social Inclusion, which makes it possible to draw financing from the Operational Programme for Education and Employment, according to the press release. "According to the latest information, we have managed to succeed with a second education project called 'Fair Schools in Liberec', and we have brought CZK 55 million [EUR 2 million] into Liberec to promote inclusion in nursery and primary schools," Langr is quoted as saying.

"We will be applying for support for more projects in future," Langr says in the city's communication. The Gesellschaft für Arbeit und Soziales are quoted as saying that they perceived a need for support from the state during the peak of the refugee crisis and the big influx of migrants, with support that targeted that group constituting effective, necessary aid.

"Now during the significant abatement of the migrant influx, it is necessary to focus on other target groups with the same intensity and level of support," Siegfried Unger of the Gesellschaft für Arbeit und Soziales is quoted as saying in the City of Liberec's press release. The closing sentence of the press release states that the the "nationalities that dominate" the City of Liberec are Ukrainians, Slovaks, Vietnamese, Poles and Mongolians.

dm, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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etnicita, Koncepce, Liberec, sociální práce



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