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Czech Romanies doing better in Vsetin two years later

Vsetin, 16.9.2008 13:16, (ROMEA)

Crime in the problematic centre of the north Moravian town Vsetin, largely inhabited by Romanies, has all but disappeared after the experiment proposed by former mayor Jiri Cunek two years ago was implemented, Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes today.

When Cunek, now Local Development Minister and leader of the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), evicted rent-defaulters and other problematic people to a makeshift dormitory outside the town, he came under fierce criticism of human rights activists, MfD writes.

Earlier this week, Cunek has worked out a plan that reckons with Romany families in the country being divided into three groups according to their social level, each approached in a different way.

The first group will comprise the families that live almost independent of the social allowance system. The second group is to comprise those abusing social allowances. The third group will be the Romanies who have to be supervised always and everywhere.

Romanies in the last mentioned group should be moved to hostels with a strict regime and under social workers' supervision.

Only those working for their municipality would be eligible for social allowances.

Romany activists have protested against the plan, calling it a racist scheme.

Daniela Cincibusova, who is in charge of Romany affairs in Vsetin, said she was satisfied with the situation in the town, although the presence of 210 people in "container-like" houses was not ideal.

Nevertheless, there was a certain improvement after two years of intensive social care, Cincibusova said.

"They have calmed down, there are fewer problems even among the Romanies themselves. They are more responsible, some of them are ready to send their children to the elementary, not 'special' school," Cincibusova said.

"As they are forced to pay household bills, they look for at least temporary jobs or even permanent work," she added.

She said it was not a failure that this only related to one-tenth of the people to whom she devoted her effort almost daily.

Cincibusova said the housing for rent-defaulters was a type of resocialisation measure. Thanks to it, Romanies can acquire the habits of majority society, she added.

"They should understand that they cannot only wait until the state gives them some welfare benefits," Cincibusova said.

"They must understand that they have to do something in their own right," she added.

Cincibusova said most of the Romanies were satisfied with their current housing.

"Some of them are even grateful to the town hall that due to their debts they did not end up in the streets," she added.

CTK
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Czech republic, Vsetín



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