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August 11, 2022



RomanoNet calls on Czech Republic's second-largest city to resolve the catastrophic situation of children and women of Romani origin who have fled Ukraine

10.6.2022 9:20
A City of Brno official providing
A City of Brno official providing "aid" to the children and women of Romani origin from Ukraine, with the assistance of municipal police. (2022) (PHOTO: Iniciativa Grand)

RomanoNet, an umbrella organization of pro-Roma and Romani-led organizations, has called on representatives of the City of Brno to begin addressing the catastrophic situation in their city of the children and women of Romani origin who have fled Ukraine to escape the ongoing war there, calling on the Mayor of Brno, Markéta Vaňková, to collaborate and negotiate with them on solutions. Michal Miko, the director of RomanoNet, sent a statement to that effect to news server 

"Tents without flooring that leak when it rains, port-a-potties that are never emptied, a cistern of water but no way to boil it, no food, basic hygienic needs not being met - the city is not providing conditions of dignity to these refugees," says the Romanonet statement. "We regret to say that the current situation not only deviates from all international standards for refugee protection, but also from the adopted Government resolution under the legislation called Lex Ukraine."

According to the 11 organizations associated in RomanoNet, the City of Brno should proceed similarly to the way the City of Prague has dealt with its own bad situation for Romani refugees who ended up with no choice but to live in the main railway station there. "RomanoNet calls on city officials to provide refugees with a dignified place to be where nonprofit organizations, as in Prague, can more effectively provide them with aid and explain to them what opportunities they have in the Czech Republic as refugees," reads the statement.

"Based on such interventions and on aid delivery by nonprofit organizations, for example, just 30 refugees are living now at Troja [refugee camp in Prague]," RomanoNet reports. "Our experience has shown that the effective adaptation of members of this target group is possible provided that the condition of dignified housing is met, as it is necessary for greater effectiveness so assistance can become more efficient logistically."  

RomanoNet is also calling on the City of Brno to investigate whether the refugees of Romani origin from Ukraine have been threatened by officials with the prospect of their children being removed from their custody if they do not leave their present location. "We certainly do not have to point out that in the case of children in particular, the use of repression must be measured not just by the real severity of the consequences and the social harm caused, but also by the broader view that such consequences, given the circumstances, would be both manifestly ineffective and unfair," the statement says. 

The umbrella group also expresses its full support for both the actions and the statements made by the Grand Initiative (Iniciativa Grand) of volunteers providing aid to these children and women on the spot in Brno. RomanoNet was established in February 2017 to coordinate the collaboration of nongovernmental and nonprofit organizations working with the Romani minority in the Czech Republic. 

RomanoNet's mission is to promote an integration policy that emphasizes respect for human rights, equality, Romani participation in public life and involvement in decision-making processes. Currently, the members of RomanoNet are Awen Amenca, IQ Roma servis, Khamoro, Kleja, Open Society, Romano jasnica, ROMEA, Romodrom, Slovo 21, Společno-Jekhetane (Together) and Vzájemné soužití (Life Together).

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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