Regional coalition of Romani representatives calls on Czech ombudsman to apologize for his remarks about Romani people
Romani people living in the Liberec Region are demanding that the newly-appointed Public Defender of Rights, Stanislav Křeček, apologize for remarks which, in their view, have degraded many Romani people. News server Romea.cz is publishing their statement here in full translation.
Declaration of the Coalition of Romani Representatives of the Liberec Region
We, the undersigned, demand that Mr Stanislav Křeček apologize to all Romani people for the remarks he has made in the media about Romani people describing us as an "inactive" minority when there are many nonprofit organizations and other groups working all over the country exactly on the issue of the participation of Romani people in public affairs. His remarks are unacceptable to us, as they denigrate the work of many Romani people.
The Roma are part of this society, and for that reason, as civil society, we must object to the ombudsman's behavior and draw attention to this failing. Romani people's interest in politics and active citizenship has significantly improved, compared to previous years, and Romani people are finally becoming leaders who can achieve their goals.
It is exactly for that reason that we consider it unacceptable that the Public Defender of Rights is dividing society by making such remarks. We are also concerned about the very continued existence of that office and how it will actually function, since Mr Křeček, in his remarks, is not ascribing the necessary importance to the subject of discrimination as part of the job description of the Public Defender of Rights.
We perceive discrimination to be something that is, to a large degree, preventing the emancipation of Romani people and their integration into society. We are glad that the Liberec Region, in that regard, is functioning well - the Romani community here has its representatives in the form of local Romani nonprofit organizations who communicate with each other, respond to community needs, and are doing meaningful work for the good of the Romani people and the socially excluded persons in the region in the long run.
For the Coalition of Romani Representatives in the Liberec Region (Koalice romských reprezentantů Libereckého kraje, z. s.) and other groups in the Coalition,
Marie Pilátová, Ján Lányi, Eugen Kondáš, Julius Baník, Dana Tamašová, Klára Růžičková, Ladislav Mártha, Marie Kondášová, Nikola Bilá and other members.
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