Petition against racial violence in the Czech Republic
We, citizens of the Czech Republic, citizens of the Romani minority living on the territory of the Czech Republic, resolutely reject, as individuals, any and all displays of racial and any other form of violence committed by any group or part of the population. Whether this concerns the recent so-called machete attack or the attack in Rumburk from last weekend committed by a group of Romani people against members of the majority population, we resolutely distance ourselves from such crimes and simultaneously ask the Police of the Czech Republic to conduct a very thorough investigation of both cases. We are also calling on the Interior Minister to supervise the course of those investigations and to convene a press conference once the police investigation in Rumburk is completed where the conclusions of that particular investigation will be clearly communicated to the public.
We are also calling on the Government of the Czech Republic and the various ministries and departments concerned with Romani integration to clearly define the steps they are taking in the matter of addressing Romani issues in the Czech Republic, and to self-critically evaluate their activity to date. The current state of affairs demonstrates that the issue of Romani integration is being addressed poorly from the central government level. The artificial creation of ghettos in the Šluknov foothills is clear proof of the fact that local municipalities do not have sufficient financial means or mechanisms in place to flexibly respond to the situation.
We call on the Czech Government Inter-ministerial Commission on Roma Community Affairs and the Czech Government Council for National Minorities to adopt official statements regarding these violent events. We also call on them to define their positions as advisory bodies to the Government of the Czech Republic and their weight as advisory bodies contributing to the concept for the inclusion of national minorities within the Czech Republic.
As citizens of a very numerous national minority we are extremely uneasy over recent events. By taking this stand we are making it clear that we are not indifferent to coexistence within our society as a whole and that we denounce both of these recent incidents. Any form of violence, no matter who commits it, decidedly contravenes our identity.
We also express our unease over the current economic/social reforms, which are having and will continue to have a strongly negative impact on any and all groups of socially deprived people, irrespective of their ethnic origin or skin color. The recent excesses, including displays of extremism, are proof that the situation is alarming. It is known that social tensions spread throughout society as a whole and involve all kinds of negative phenomena, including the exploitation of others.
The excesses described here, which were committed by individuals, have a very negative impact on the community as a whole and directly influence the way Romani people are now viewed in society. Just as collective blame cannot be assigned to the community, these excesses cannot be blindly justified by our feelings of solidarity with one another.
Drawn up by:
Drahomír Radek Horváth: Freelance journalist, commentator, project assistant
Václav Zástěra: Project coordinator
Štefan Tišer: Chair of SRNMPK o.s (Association of Roma and National Minorities in the Plzeň Region), member of the Czech Government Council for National Minorities
The petition is available online (Czech only) at:
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