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Czech President says 90 % of "inadaptable citizens" are Romani

13.11.2017 9:03
Czech President Miloš Zeman, 2017. (PHOTO: TV Barrandov)
Czech President Miloš Zeman, 2017. (PHOTO: TV Barrandov)

According to Czech President Miloš Zeman, 90 % of what he called the country's "inadaptable citizens" are Romani and just 10 % are "white slobs". Zeman made his remarks on a program called "This Week with the President" (Týden s prezidentem), which is regularly broadcast by the Barrandov cable television station and moderated by the director of that station, Jaromír Soukup.

Zeman also said he rejects the ideaa of affirmative action or "positive discrimination" for Romani people, saying that such treatment is "still discrimination": "As far as the Roma go, you, know, I do not believe it is worthwhile for there to be positive discrimination of Romani people, because even positive discrimination is still discrimination. That means we are supposed to approach everybody the same way. I am glad to use this category of inadaptables, and I define it as meaning people who refuse jobs offered to them even though they are absolutely healthy. It's probably true that 90 % of them are Romani, but 10 % of them might be white slobs, and we must approach them in absolutely the same way. If we discriminate against either group, whether positively or negatively, then we are violating human rights."

The Czech President reminded viewers that he agrees on this issue with the current Human Rights Minister. "The new minister, Mr Chvojka, and I agree that in the first place, human rights are not just the rights of minorities, but also the rights of the majority, and in the second place they are not just political rights, but also economic and social rights," he said before going on to criticize previous Human Rights Ministers Jiří Dienstbier and Michael Kocáb.

"The havoc that has, in my opinion, been wreaked in this area by Jiří Dienstbier and by Michael Kocáb before him can be done away with in two ways. Either the Human Rights Minister will be better qualified than those who have previously held that post, or the department itself should be not abolished, but incorporated into a different ministry. Both are possible," he answered when asked what he made of the statement by Czech Prime Minister-designate Andrej Babiš that it is not necessary to establish a ministry for human rights, equal opportunities and legislation and that he could imagine transferring the Government's Legislative Council to the Justice Ministry and the Human Rights Section to the Labor Ministry.

Zeman's term in office will end in March 2018. The presidential elections will take place at the begninning of 2018 and, according to the most recent statement by the Interior Ministry, at most nine candidates will be running.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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