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Outgoing Czech Govt Human Rights Commissioner calls on new administration to establish Commissioner for Romani Affairs

13.1.2022 6:37
Czech MP and outgoing Government Human Rights Commissioner Helena Válková during the 12 January 2022 session of the Czech Chamber of Deputies (PHOTO: Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic)
Czech MP and outgoing Government Human Rights Commissioner Helena Válková during the 12 January 2022 session of the Czech Chamber of Deputies (PHOTO: Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic)

Speaking during debate in the Czech lower house yesterday, outgoing Government Human Rights Commissioner Helena Válková called on the new administration to establish the post of Government Commissioner for Romani Affairs by mid-year. Her call came during several hours of debate on whether to give the new Government of Prime Minister Petr Fiala a vote of confidence. 

Válková reminded the lower house that the previous administration had adopted the Strategy for Roma Equality, Inclusion and Participation 2021-2030 last year, and said the word "participation" had been included in that document for the first time in history. "We took that brave step and I very much thank the Romani minority, their elite, for successfully re-working the original strategy that had been prepared in a standard way by bureaucrats, one that didn't much correspond to a strategy that is actually modern," she said, adding:  "The Czech Government, the new administration, has been tasked by that strategy with establishing the position of Commissioner for Romani Affairs - I recommend doing so during the first half of the year, that is something I can recommend even though the deadline is by 31 December 2022. However much you might try as a Government Human Rights Commissioner, or as a Human Rights Minister, be you female or male, you will never be able to convince members of a minority, a national minority, in this case the Romani national minority, that you are 'theirs', as it were, and that you are doing the very best that they could want. They deserve to have their own representative who will be responsible for their affairs."   

Válková also said a nominee for the post has been supported by the Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs, "whom naturally you all can accept or not." News server Romea.cz has reported that the volunteer civil society members of that body and some nonprofit organizations have proposed council member Jan Husák for the post of Government Commissioner for Romani Affairs. 

Zdeněk Ryšavý, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Commissioner, Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner, Helena Válková, human rights



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