European Roma and Travellers Forum: Czech Republic tending toward institutional racism
According to the European Roma and Travellers Forum, the Czech Republic is heading toward institutional racism. The Fifth Plenary Assembly of the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) began yesterday at the headquarters of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and will run through Saturday. Several dozen delegates from EU Member States and representatives of the main European and international Roma organizations are participating.
Many delegates expressed their uneasiness over developments in the situation of Roma in the Czech Republic. In their view, representatives of local governments, together with constitutional officers in the Czech Republic, are pushing for the adoption of legal measures that would make it possible for the public administration to inflict harm by interfering with the conditions in which Roma people live there.
As Ondřej Giňa, Sr., a member of the ERTF Executive Committee, state, "in addition to brutal neo-Nazis and determined anti-Gypsyists, the Roma are now facing an effort by the representatives of towns and villages as well as by members of the Parliament of the Czech Republic to legalize institutional anti-Gypsyism and racism." Annette Groth, a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and John Warnisham of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe also referred in their presentations to such approaches toward Roma people as unacceptable.
The ERTF defends the human rights of Roma and Travellers and facilitates their integration into European society, their participation in public life, and their inclusion in decision-making processes. The fight against discrimination and racism is one of the ERTF's main points.
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