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Most Romanies cause problems, disrespect laws - Czech senator

Prague, 13.7.2007 19:00, (ČTK)

Czech senator Liana Janackova (for the Independents movement) said today a majority of Romanies cause problems in coexistence with the others, do not respect laws, and therefore law is often unenforceable in their case.

Janackova, who was answering iDnes server readers' questions, said that "upside down discrimination" is often evident in the Czech Republic.

Janackova, who is also mayor of a district of the third largest Czech city of Ostrava, north Moravia, and who has allegedly made racist statements about Romanies last year, said today she does not consider herself a racist.

Janackova has been catapulted to the centre of public attention after a tape recording of statements she allegedly made at a meeting of the Ostrava district's housing department last year was disclosed.

"Unfortunately, I am a racist, I disagree with the integration of Gypsies so that they would live across the area. Unfortunately, we have chosen the (settlement) Bedriska and so they will stay there, with a high fence, with electricity," Janackova allegedly said.

She also allegedly spoke about Romanies having many children and about dynamite.
Janackova first challenged the authenticity of the recording and said it is a political attack on her.

She then said that the sentences were pronounced by another woman with the same voice, but later she admitted she did say some of the sentences.

Later, Janackova told CTK that she should not have probably reacted this way and that it was careless and stupid of her.

Today, Janackova said people should first get acquainted with the situation on the spot before they start to judge or condemn her.

"I insist that a majority of Romanies cause problems in coexistence and that they do not respect the laws of this country. It is often impossible to enforce law in their cases," Janackova said in the internet debate.

In another discussion on Aktualne server she said Romanies "in a majority of cases use the advantages of the welfare system without returning anything to our society."
She repeatedly said she does not denounce Romanies as an ethnicity, but as unadaptable people.

Janackova said it would take long to improve the situation of Romanies and to integrate them into society.

It is estimated that some 200,000 of them live in the Czech Republic.
Janackova said Romanies' education and communication between them and the majority population are fundamental conditions in this respect.

She said only people who are ready to do something for the municipality should get social welfare benefits.

"It is a question whether Romanies, too, want to work on themselves and to integrate with the majority. I can say from what I have seen at the town hall over the past sixteen years that they rather do not show this effort. They rather prefer depending on the system and they know their rights rather than duties," Janackova said.

She said she would also agree with "limiting child benefits just as Slovakia has done."
Janackova said the atmosphere that has developed around the release of the recording of her words is tantamount to "witch hunt."

She said the one who speaks about problems openly is labelled as a racist in the Czech Republic. But politicians should also speak about coexistence with Romanies that has as yet been spoken about only in secret and in private.

Janackova said it is not possible to leave the solution up to municipalities. The Czech Republic should seek inspiration in other countries and recalled the situation where British officials checked Britain-bound passengers at Prague's Ruzyne airport. Some of them were not allowed to leave.

The checks were made at a time when many Czech Romanies were emigrating to Britain.

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Czech republic, Liana Janáčková



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