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Czech Romanies transferred from Vsetin want to return - press

Jesenik, North Moravia, 7.4.2007 15:11, (CTK)

The Romanies from Vsetin, north Moravia, whom the Town Hall under Mayor Jiri Cunek had resettled in three villages in the Jesenik area last year, want to return to Vsetin, regional daily Sumpersky and jesenicky denik writes today.

The Romanies have reportedly hired lawyers to prove that they purchased their houses in Jesenik under pressure and therefore the relevant contracts are invalid.

"We want to return. My family is disintegrating. There were twelve of us here, but only four have remained as my daughter with her kids and my son left back for Vsetin to rejoin our broad family," the paper quotes Karol Kandrac, now a resident of Vidnava near Jesenik, as saying.

His wife does not want to stay in their new home, which is in poor technical state, with dangerous electric installations, either. The Kandracs, along with other Romany families, settled in nearby Stara Cervena Voda and Vlcice, demand that the Vsetin hall secure housing for them in family houses in Vsetin, the daily writes.

The Romanies have asked the Vzajemne souziti (Co-existence) publicly beneficial company for help.

"Our defence lawyer will help the families in their effort to return to Vsetin. We'll try to have their contracts declared void, but it will be difficult. Vsetin proceeded very cunningly. It secured houses [in the Jesenik area] for the families, it offered loans to them, but the contracts are signed between the families and the houses' original owners," Kumar Vishwanathan from Vzajemne souziti is quoted as saying.

According to Jitka Chalankova, deputy governor of the Olomouc region, north Moravia, the Romanies feel forcibly extracted from their natural environment where their families and friends live.

Cunek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL), then mayor of Vsetin, had dozens of rent-defaulters' families moved out of a dilapidating house in Vsetin last year. Most of them were settled in container-like flats on the town outskirts and some elsewhere in Moravia, including the Jesenik area.

The move caused uproar on the political scene. Many observers, however, admit that it helped Cunek win the Senate elections in the Vsetin constituency and gain the seat of KDU-CSL chairman last autumn. At present he holds the post of deputy PM and local development minister in the Czech centre-right government.

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Czech republic, Vsetín



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