Czech/Romani NGO tells Public Defender of Rights his remarks on Human Rights Day are a disgrace
The organizace Vzájemné soužití (Life Together), led by Kumar Vishwanathan, has published an open letter to the Czech Public Defender of Rights (the ombudsman), Stanislav Křeček, indirectly calling for his resignation. The letter, which Romea.cz is publishing in full translation below, is a reaction to remarks the ombudsman posted to social media on Human Rights Day.
"The rhetoric you espouse gives us the impression of the complex of being a well-to-do, white, heterosexual man of a respectable age who lives inside a lair of certainties created by the majority society and who does not show the slightest generosity of spirit when it comes to looking beyond the borders of that lair at the people whom you will never consider part of 'us'..." the letter reads, stating elsewhere that "We believe you will get the support you seek on Facebook and other social media platforms, but human rights are not based on Facebook 'likes', human rights are a given. If the honorable gentleman does not comprehend these matters then he should not remain in an office that is based on understanding that fact."
Open Letter from Life Together responding to the Czech Public Defender of Rights
Dear Mr Ombudsman,
We are writing to you in association with Human Rights Day, an occasion you have used to publish a statement to your Facebook profile. The rhetoric you espouse gives us the impression of the complex of being a well-to-do, white, heterosexual man of a respectable age who lives inside a lair of certainties created by the majority society and who does not show the slightest generosity of spirit when it comes to looking beyond the borders of that lair at the people whom you will never consider part of "us" - for example, when you write that "On the other hand, perhaps even in the name of those same rights, that same European Union currently is not preventing the creation or the growing activity of a society of those who do not acknowledge our concept of human rights, who do not respect them, and who clearly declare their idea of a different ordering for all of European society," and many other statements that define some ambiguous "us" against all the rest who are different.
We believe you will get the support you seek on Facebook and other social media platforms, but human rights are not based on Facebook 'likes', human rights are a given. If the honorable gentleman does not comprehend these matters then he should not remain in an office that is based on understanding that fact.
This is not the first time you have spoken about Romani people without them. [Note: A large part of the ombudsman's post, not reproduced here, discusses the "issue of the Roma", makes several inaccurate statements and reminisces about how his previous remarks about Roma have been, in his view, misunderstood.]
Romani people are prepared to meet with you, but people like you do not give them the opportunity to do so. We would be interested to know how many times you have actually met Romani people and what the context was, given the fact that you mention them in almost every post or tweet.
In that regard we were also quite taken with your remark about entrepreneurs during an interview you gave to Rádio Svobodné univerzum [Radio Free Universe] in September. At one point you said the following: "Among the entrepreneurs who do not want a Rom [as an employee] because he'll show up on Monday but not on Wednesday, that's what their experience has been."
Later in that interview, you returned to that same example once again, this time directly quoting these "entrepreneurs", whom you did not further identify: "The entrepreneurs say: 'I won't employ you because you're a Rom and I know by the time Wednesday rolls around, Romani people won't make to to work'." By making these remarks (and others) you have deeply offended our Romani employees and friends (and not just them) and we are of the opinion that this kind of rhetoric is disgraceful coming from the ombudsman.
We do fully agree with the statement you made at the beginning of your debate about employing Romani people, namely, that all citizens are equal in terms of their rights and responsibilities. We regret that in your role as the Public Defender of Rights you are resorting to these kinds of generalizations, and we are of the opinion that such rhetoric is unsuitable given the post you hold.
- Czech Govt Human Rights Commissioner expects new Roma strategy to be adopted by the end of January
- Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights calls on Czech lower house to adopt law to compensate illegally sterilized people, first reading scheduled for today
- European Roma Rights Centre reports on human rights violations against Romani people during the pandemic this spring
- VIDEO: Commemoration at former concentration camp in Czech Republic remembers Romani victims of Auschwitz, Human Rights Commissioner expresses support for a Romani Commissioner
- Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner: I support the creation of a Government Commissioner for Romani Minority Affairs
- Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Secretary General issue statements honoring 2 August
- Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe calls for Romani living conditions to be improved during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Czech Govt Human Rights Commissioner thanks Roma for their aid during COVID-19 and wishes them well on International Romani Day
- Czech Govt Human Rights Commissioner: Nonprofits are irreplaceable in combating COVID-19
- Director of EU FRA: Racism has no place in combating coronavirus, human rights limitations must be proportionate
- Czech Deputy Public Defender of Rights to take up human rights agenda, discrimination still an issue
- Czech Deputy Public Defender of Rights wants to investigate human rights, new Public Defender is downplaying that aspect of the office
- Czech Government Commissioner for Human Rights files report of crime over media coverage of her past
- Leader of the Czech lower house wants explanation in person from Public Defender of Rights about how he has treated the Deputy Public Defender of Rights
- Former Czech ombudswoman says she believes ombudsman depriving deputy of her agenda was likely an act of revenge and she should ask the lower house to act
- Czech Public Defender of Rights criticized by Romani figures, they believe the lower house should intervene
- Czech Senator Adéla Šípová calls for Stanislav Křeček to resign as Public Defender of Rights
- Czech NGO consortium RomanoNet calls on lower house to dismiss Stanislav Křeček as Public Defender of Rights
- Czech Public Defender of Rights takes agenda away from Deputy Public Defender of Rights, she is considering suing him for defamation
- Czech Senate adopts resolution condemning the Public Defender of Rights for repeatedly making biased, xenophobic remarks
- Office of the Public Defender of Rights finds discrimination against Romani refugees from Ukraine at aid center in Czech capital
- NGO director in Czech Republic says politicians' rhetoric about "inadaptable" Roma is dangerous, some non-Roma refugees from Ukraine are reportedly aggressive toward local Roma here
- Czech Deputy Public Defender of Rights: I wish all Romani men and women the very best for their day today, with all my heart!
- Czech extremist praises ombudsman for objecting to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, deputy ombudswoman criticizes those objections
- Commentary: I'd like a Czech ombudsman who solves problems instead of adding fuel to the fire