Czech Republic: International conference to discuss ethnic data collection options
The Office of the Government of the Czech Republic and Open Society Fund Prague are preparing to convene an international conference to review the permissibility of collecting ethnic data and methods for its accumulation and storage. Conference organizers informed members of the Working Group on Roma Education, which advises the Inter-ministerial Commission on Roma Community Affairs, of the project last week.
The conference "aims to determine what kind of data is being collected today in the Czech Republic in the field of education and to establish what kind of data we would need in order to reduce inequality in education and how such data could aid, e.g., in combating racial segregation. The conference should support the national discussion and feature international experts. In this context the organizers will be initiating negotiations with representatives of the Ministry for Education, Youth and Sport and the Czech School Inspectorate," the press release of the Office of the Government reads.
At a seminar in the Czech Parliament on the topic of "hate violence" recently, Čeněk Růžička of the Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust recently expressed his view of ethnic data collection as follows: "If society is supposed to aid us Roma somehow, it must have data about us. I am an indigenous Czech Rom and our community has experienced being 'inventoried' several times and we know repressive units of the state have misused that information. Even though, as a Rom, I am aware of this enormous problem, I nevertheless agree that data should be collected about us."
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