Kocáb: Departure of the Roma to Canada is not “organized”
Speaking after an extraordinary session of the Czech Government Council for Roma Community Affairs yesterday, Czech Human Rights and Minorities Minister Michael Kocáb told the web server Romea.cz that neither he nor the Czech Interior Ministry has any information that the emigration of Czech Roma to Canada has been “organized” by anyone. “We truly believe that the environment in our republic has become increasingly tense of late and that the Roma have felt unsafe,” he said.
"During the coming week I will submit a report to the government on the reasons for this emigration as my office views them,” Kocáb told ČTK, saying that in cooperation with the Interior Ministry he would also attempt to determine which places the Roma are departing from and what is leading them to make the move. “We will devote ourselves to this issue full-time,” he said.
According to Kocáb, the Roma’s main motivation to go abroad is evidently not economic; those leaving are said to be bothered primarily by the attitude of those around them. “They do not even have to be severely oppressed – it is enough if they are excluded to the extent that they cannot live a normal, harmonious life,” Kocáb said.
Kocáb wants to fight against the exclusion of the Roma from society, for example, by further refining the concept for the Agency for Social Inclusion in Roma Localities, which he will submit to the government in September. A month after that, ministers will receive a new general strategy for the fight against social exclusion. "This will be the long-awaited and hoped-for manual that will include specific tasks for the ministers as well as proposals and instructions for future guidelines for municipalities and cities,” Kocáb said.
Members of the Council do not have a copy available of the study elaborated by the former director of the Office for the Czech Government Council for Roma Community Affairs, Roman Krištof, the conclusions of which are being reported in the Czech media. "We do not know who commissioned the report Mr Krištof is presenting in the media. I know that sounds strange given that it is apparently about the Roma and that a state body apparently commissioned it. Given that the source of that report has not been officially revealed, we do not consider it relevant,” the current Director of the Office for the Czech Government Council for Roma Community Affairs Gabriela Hrabaňová told Romea.cz.
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