Emilie Horáčková calls on Czech PM and EU Justice Commissioner to focus on anti-Romani racism
The Romani activist Emilie Horáčková has called on Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, EU Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová, the chair of the Chamber of Deputies Jan Hamáček and Public Defender of Rights Anna Šabatová to focus on the state of institutional racism and structural discrimination against Romani people at all levels of the local and state administration and in all bodies of executive and judicial power. In her letter, she expresses her dissatisfaction with how the Constitution of the Czech Republic is being upheld.
The activist believes the Czech Republic is failing to ensure the equality of Romani people. News server Romea.cz publishes her letter in full translation below.
I hereby call upon Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumer Protection and Gender Equality; Bohuslav Sobotka, Prime Minister; Jan Hamáček, chair of the Chamber of Deputies; and Anna Šabatová, Public Defender of Rights, to use the powers of their offices to investigate and initiate the enforcement of the rights of Romani people living in the Czech Republic. I also ask that these officials focus on the current state of institutional racism and structural discrimination against Romani people at all levels of the local and state administration and in all bodies of executive and judicial power.
I also ask that these officials publicly declare their standpoints on the elimination of intolerance, racism and xenophobia from public institutions and from Czech society itself. I, Emilie Horáčková, a citizen of the Czech Republic, am hereby expressing my dissatisfaction, as a Romani woman, with how the Constitution is failing to be upheld in practice.
I am also dissatisfied with how equality is, in the case of Romani people, difficult to enforce. I refuse to reconcile myself to the racial intolerance in this society, to the growing neo-Nazi tendencies that divide people into categories of superior and inferior, or to the promotion of populist, violent solutions in the country where I was born and where I still live.
I do not intend to back down anymore in the face of this suppression of fundamental human rights and freedoms, this defamation and denial of my ethnic identity. I am asking that displays of racism no longer be tolerated in the public space, such as, for example, the slogans "Bohemia for the Czechs!" or "Go home!", and that the pronouncing of such slogans at public assemblies be legally prosecutable.
Since 1991, Romani mothers, Romani women, have lost their loved ones, adults and children, to the violence sparked by these racist ideologies. Racism and racial intolerance in this society continues to be rampant and the state is proceeding insufficiently when it comes to correcting this state of affairs.
It is necessary to remind this society that in 1971, when the World Romani Congress took place, the right of Romani people to self-determination was declared. The term "Rom" and "Romani minority" is one that the states in which Romani people live have pledged to accept as the only official possible designation, and I therefore demand that derogatory terms for Romani people be considered absolutely socially unacceptable and that their use be thoroughly rejected by those exercising public power.
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