Karel Holomek: Why might the director of the Czech Agency for Social Inclusion have been dismissed?
Czech Human Rights Minister Dienstbier has completely unexpectedly dismissed the director of the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion, Bc. Martin Šimáček. While he did not initially state the reasons for the dismissal on 17 April, he did so in a follow-up on 21 April.
Let's recall that the Agency, established by the Government, is supposed to impact the weakest link of social inclusion, particularly the inclusion of Romani people, and that is in the municipalities. The Government program was supposed to transfer know-how in this area to municipalities which very frequently had no respect for the program and often took completely opposite actions to those it recommended, actions dictated by reason of political practice in the agenda-setting of populism, in accordance with local citizens' wishes.
After being in existence for several years, the results of the Agency's work in the municipalities is quite varied. In some places it is absolutely excellent and successful, in others a total failure.
To sum up, in communities where the number of Romani people is fewer than 1 000, success has been achieved in improving the housing and social situations in such municipalities, in implementing policies in practice among Romani people, and in more successfully including them into local life. In larger communities with tens of thousands of Romani people the Agency has usually not succeeded.
This is not necessarily the Agency's fault. The reason for it is clear: Large numbers of one national group afflicted by social exclusion represent a demanding, long-term problem, and not just a social one.
In any event, Šimáček can be considered a successful government manager. That is why his dismissal is surprising.
There is no need to speculate about the reasons for his dismissal. I would like to draw attention here to what might have caused it.
It may have been cause by essential criticism of the Agency by some Romani members of the Czech Government Inter-ministerial Commission for Romani Community Affairs, of which Šimáček was aware, but to which he did not, unfortunately, assign much importance. During his brief intervew on Czech Television on the evening of Friday, 17 April, he could not have been sincere when he said he had no idea what the reasons were that might have led the minister to dismiss him.
That's just what everyone in this situation says. While he was director, he managed to convincingly - and almost always solely positively - assess the Agency through unbelievably detailed descriptions of its actions in various communities.
Simply put, however, he did not manage to produce reliable investigations into the results of the Agency's work in the field with the target group. In many cases, that group remained in a very bleak situation even after the Agency's interventions.
Such findings, of course, could not be used to describe the Agency's efforts to succeed. The Agency had to always report results, even when there were none - and it did so.
knowledge of Romani environments or mindsets into the work of the Agency.
Since that was the way the Agency worked from the beginning, the strong Romani figures who are active in local communities parted company with it. The current staffers of the Agency have been unable to work convincingly in the field, the members of Romani communities have not been approached as Romani people, and to this day, most Roma not only are ignorant of the Agency's activity, they are ignorant of its existence.
There is a certain excuse to be made here, in the sense that while many municipalities agreed to collaborate with the Agency but were not serious about it. They agreed because it might bring them money, and because they might then be able to argue that they were in tune with the Government.
This was simply a completely hypocrtical approach for them to take. As I recall, Mayor Řápková of Chomutov agreed to collaborate with the Agency during her tenure, even though it was completely certain that she was not serious.
We always arrive at the same conclusion here. Without the actual, genuine participation of Romani people in implementing programs - not just on combating social exclusion, but on integrating Roma into society, which would be a much broader, more demanding program - there will be no success.
- Karel Holomek: Segregation is a source of crime, frustration and hatred
- Karel Holomek: We cannot reconcile ourselves to segregation
- Karel Holomek: The Roma are a nation! That is the key to their integration.
- Commentary by Karel Holomek: A killing or a murder?
- Karel Holomek: I have known Václav Havel a long time
- Karel Holomek: Solutions never implemented, ethnic relations will deteriorate
- Commentary by Karel Holomek: The embarrassing end to the Czech presidency of the Decade
- Karel Holomek resigns from Czech Government Inter-ministerial Commission for Roma Community Affairs
- Karel Holomek: The census is about facts, not feelings
- Commentary by Karel Holomek: Czech mayors' declaration is amateurish nonsense!
- Commentary by Karel Holomek: Czech Government social strategy unmasked
- Commentary by Karel Holomek: It's all up to the mayor of Nový Bydžov
- Czech Republic starts its Decade presidency, Karel Holomek is ambassador
- Karel Holomek on the Roma Holocaust, education of the Roma, and the Workers’ Party
- Czech Agency for Social Inclusion director gives interview about state support during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Czech socially excluded localities see limited services due to COVID-19, nonprofit staffers lack protective gear
- Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion praises town for using EU funds to create social housing
- Michal Miko: Czech ministries are boycotting experts' attempts to introduce social housing
- Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion publishes analysis of segregation in primary schools
- Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion objects to disinformation published about its proposals for infamous housing estate
- Czech Government has not yet decided whether to move Agency for Social Inclusion to Regional Development Ministry
- Czech Government decides today on moving Agency for Social Inclusion to the Regional Development Ministry
- Czech Govt Agency for Social Inclusion does not support new investment into infamous housing estate properties
- EU-funded project promoting health literacy in socially excluded communities of the Czech Republic
- Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion criticizes housing benefit-free zones
- Czech Govt Agency for Social Inclusion distances itself from group led by candidate for party using racist slogan