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Czech Republic: "SOS Přednádraží" calls attention to Romani locality

Ostrava, 1.10.2012 17:00, (ROMEA)

A new public appeal, "SOS Přednádraží", is trying to draw attention once more to the living situation in that part of Ostrava. Several dozen people, including children, are residing in buildings which the Building Works Authority has decided are hazardous to human life. The initiators of the appeal are challenging politicians to get involved and to implement a dignified, feasible solution to this problem. Petr Hauzírek released the appeal on behalf of its organizers.

Those who initiated the appeal believe the buildings in Přednádraží street should be made habitable. "In particular, the sewer lines should be repaired which are owned in part by the town of Ostrava, which is responsible for them, and the supply of electricity and potable water should resume," reads the appeal. The town of Ostrava, however, has previously rejected the claim that it owns the broken sewer line. On the contrary, the town believes the line is owned by the state (specifically, by Czech Railways) and is seeking a declaratory judgment on the issue from the District Court in Ostrava.

According to those who initiated the SOS appeal, the town must stop pressuring the landlord and his tenants to vacate the buildings. "We have received information from locals that the town told them they had to move out by the end of September," said Hauzírek.

Jana Pondělíčková, spokesperson for the central municipal department of Moravská Ostrava and Přívoz, in which the locality is situated, said the residents are not being evicted from the buildings by the use of any kind of force whatsoever. "Our staffers are going there daily to warn the residents they should leave the locality because of the poor state of the buildings. There is a risk some of them might collapse. We always offer people substitute accommodation," she said.

Pondělíčková said the Building Works Authority continues to insist the buildings are hazardous to human life and that those living in them should vacate them. She added that social workers are not currently in the process of removing children from the families living in those unsuitable conditions. SOS Přednádraží and several other people involved in the situation in the locality have publicly warned of just such a threat.

The entire text of the SOS Přednádraží appeal (in Czech and in English translation) as well as other information about this activity can be found online at www.sosprednadrazi.cz. The call has been joined by the Czech Helsinki Committee; the ROMEA civic association; journalist Jarmila Balážová; commentator and sociologist Jiřina Šiklová; author and songwriter Jan Burian; Czech presidential candidate and founder of mothers' centers, Rut Kolínská; Čokovoko lead singer Zuzana Fuksová; Romani studies scholar and translator Karolína Ryvolová; commentator, educator and philosopher Jan Sokol; political scientist Vladimíra Dvořáková; psychotherapist Věra Roubalová Kostlánová; and songwriter Dagmar Vokatá.

ČTK, František Kostlán, Gwendolyn Albert, fk, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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