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Czech senators inspect Romany settlement over racism

Ostrava, North Moravia, 1.8.2007 20:02, (CTK)

Three senators for the Independents (SNK), today visited Bedriska, a neighbourhood in Ostrava, notorious for conflicts between majority society and Romanies, to check whether racism exists there.

The issue came to the limelight as senator Liana Janackova (SNK) allegedly used racist rhetoric when describing the local Romanies.

"Unfortunately, I am a racist, I disagree with the integration of Gypsies so that they would live across the area. Unfortunately, we have chosen the (settlement) Bedriska and so they will stay there, with a high fence, with electricity," Janackova, who is also mayor of a district of the third largest Czech city of Ostrava, north Moravia, allegedly said.

She also allegedly spoke about Romanies having many children and about dynamite.

After the visit to Bedriska, the senators told CTK they had not seen any signs of racism against Romanies.

The senators met both the Romanies and representatives of the majority society.

"We were in their homes, cellars and attics, examining the problems of their co-existence," senator Josef Novotny said.

"They complained about some minor affairs, but never about Janackova," he added.

"After meeting the locals, I am convinced that the town hall did not make any racist gestures toward the Romany minority," Novotny said.

Novotny said the SNK senatorial group was not considering dismissing Janackova from the post of deputy chairman of human rights committee over what she had said.

"In Bedriska, I met some white residents who were exasperated at their co-existence with problematic Romanies. When speaking with this group of residents, one must concede that they are right more often than not," Novotny said.

"This was done by Janackova. She might have spoken too openly, this is true. But I do not think that her rhetoric was racist," he added.

A number of NGOs and individuals have lodged legal complaints against Janackova over her rhetoric.

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Czech republic, Liana Janáčková



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