Discrimination proceedings launched against Czech property management company over Roma segregation
News server Romea.cz has been exclusively informed by the Czech Trade Inspection Authority (Česká obchodní inspekce - ČOI) that it has launched an administrative proceedings against the CPI BYTY a.s. firm after investigating them on suspicions of discriminating against Romani clients. The Janov housing estate, where CPI BYTY manages some properties, recently drew the attention of media and politicians after some local residents there addressed a petition to the Czech Prime Minister complaining they are being "terrorized by the Gypsy minority".
On the basis of dozens of complaints of a discriminatory approach taken by the Litvínov branch of CPI BYTY toward Romani clients, the ROMEA organization filed a motion at the end of September 2014 with the Public Defender of Rights (the ombud), who subsequently drew the attention of the ČOI's Central Inspectorate to the case. After the Inspectorate audited CPI BYTY on behalf of the Liberecký and Ústecký Regional Authorities, they informed us that administrative proceedings will be launched against the company in order to fine it.
In our motion to the ombud and then to the ČOI, ROMEA drew attention to facts demonstrating that direct, systemic discrimination of Romani people was occurring, people who, without justification, were rejected by CPI BYTY when seeking to lease apartments in the town of Litvínov being offered to the public by the company. Romani tenants were only offered the company's properties located at the Janov housing estate, which has long been perceived as a socially excluded locality predominantly occupied by Romani people.
News server Romea.cz reported the strong suspicions that this company was choosing clients for its properties in Litvínov on an ethnic basis in 2014. At the time we contacted the town leadership for comment, but received none.
At the start of March 2015 we returned to reporting on the situation at Janov in connection with the petition sent by "decent residents" objecting, among other things, to the rising numbers of Romani tenants at the housing estate. The petition does not mention that many Romani people have no other option for housing in the town and that despite their efforts to live elsewhere, they are only ever offered apartments at Janov.
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