Martina Horváthová's statement of resignation from the Czech Gov't Council on Romani Community Affairs
Martina Horváthová has resigned from the post of Vice-Chair of the Czech Government Council on Romani Community Affairs and as a member of the Council. "I can no longer identify with the fact that the Council is chaired by the accused Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. It does not align with my moral principles," the resigning Vice-Chair said in a statement sent to news server Romea.cz.
Martina Horváthová's statement of resignation
After five years and more than 2 000 hours of unremunerated labor, I am resigning from the Czech Government Council on Romani Community Affairs. I can no longer identify with the fact that the Council is chaired by the accused Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. It does not align with my moral principles. At the same time, I have perceived that Romani-related topics are very far from the PM's concern, he sees these issues primarily through the lens of “combating the lowlife” and the Government's solutions, under his leadership, mainly address the situation by restricting welfare benefits, the consequences of which are primarily borne by the poorest of the poor. The Council, under my leadership, constantly drew the Prime Minister's attention to this.
I have been a member of the Council since 2014. At first I was focused on the subject of education and for roughly three years I led its Working Group on that subject. We managed to carry through several resolutions, such as the recommendation that racially motivated bullying in the schools be addressed and specifically identified as part of the methodological recommendations issued by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport with respect to primary and secondary schools.
On the occasion of my departure I would like to send the following message to the Romani members of the public:
During the last half-year a change has managed to begin at the Council. It is we, the civil society members, who are determining what the Council will discuss. The agenda is being created by us, not by the bureaucrats who run the Council office. We know the public lacks information about the Council's activity. We understand that sometimes people have a problem accessing that information even though it is all available - the audio recordings and minutes of the Council's sessions are on the Government's website.
For that reason, this year we have launched a Facebook group where we share information both from the Council and related to it. Last summer, for the first time in history, we called on the public to apply to join the civil society section of the Council - the nomination of its members had never been approached that way before. More information and openness always create more opportunities for those who have a reason to criticize something to do so. Ever since we have made more information about the Council available, we have felt the voice of our critics gaining in strength. However, we have acceded to their requests and we have met with them. That was above and beyond what we are required to do, because the Council is not a representative body of Romani people, but on the contrary an advisory body of the Government, which approves its members.
For that reason, I consider it important to appeal to Romani people as follows:
"Believe that the members of the Council are on your side, trust that they are doing what the Council statutes allow them to do. If you consider the Council to be weak, then push for change."
Personally I am glad to support any initiative that makes sense and that will lead to promoting the interests of the Romani national minority at Government level and to their greater representation in decision-making positions.
I am leaving at a moment when I know that the Council has the capacity to take over the entire agenda without me. My successor is Mgr. Jan Husák, whom I perceive to be a person able to analyze and view these subjects from a holistic perspective. Not only do I wish him a great deal of luck in his work on the Council, I hope he will have enough patience and steady nerves for it. I am convinced he will fulfill his role successfully.
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