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Roma from Brno call on Czech PM to support the creation of dignified jobs

Brno, 19.8.2011 0:06, (ROMEA)

In response to the events of 1 May 2011 in Brno, when a neo-Nazi march and a blockade of that march were held, Romani residents have mobilized and organized an open letter and petition that has been signed by 779 people, both Roma and non-Roma, in less than two months. On 18 August 2011, the Romani residents of Brno mailed the signed petitions and the letter to the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Petr Nečas, who is also chair of the Czech Government Inter-Ministerial Commission for Roma Community Affairs.

In their letter and petition, the Romani residents mention the hypocritical approach and lack of action taken by bureaucrats and political representatives at both local and state level with respect to the economic and social position of Romani people. They are demanding the Prime Minister meet five specific demands in practice that are related to their right to a dignified, secure life:

1. That he take an effective public stand against hateful events disseminating hateful ideologies.

2. That he make use of his right to disperse gatherings where hateful ideologies are being disseminated, that he research the covert purposes these events are serving, and that instead of spending millions of crowns to police such unnecessary events, he spend that money supporting people who are ill and old.

3. That he support the offering of fair rental housing - Romani people do not want to live in ghettos and have nothing to do with the fact of their existence.

4. That he support the creation of dignified jobs, because "we don't want to live on welfare, we want to work!"

5. That Romani children be instructed at friendly, high-quality schools, not at "practical" or "special" schools in the ghettos.

The petition and the number of supporting signatures, as well as the words of Ms Eva Malíková, one of the active Romani women in Brno, show that many citizens of the Czech Republic have a genuine interest in addressing this serious situation. "Romani people are taking this situation seriously. These are not just mere words. Romani people will not accept another [neo-Nazi] demonstration here next year. We expect the Inter-Ministerial Commission to address this, and we expect politicians, particularly Mr Nečas in his role as chair of the Inter-Ministerial Commission for Roma Community Affairs, to address it. We believe specific steps will be taken in this regard," Ms Malíková said.

Gwendolyn Albert, tisková zpráva, press release translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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