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August 19, 2022



Jarmila Balážová further reveals Czech ombudsmans incompetence and lack of professionalism during discussion on CNN Prima News

11.2.2022 15:00
Jarmila Balážová (left) and Stanislav Křeček (right). (2022) (PHOTO: CNN Prima News)
Jarmila Balážová (left) and Stanislav Křeček (right). (2022) (PHOTO: CNN Prima News)

Journalist Jarmila Balážová, a founder of the ROMEA organization, has appeared on CNN Prima News in discussion with the Czech Public Defender of Rights, Stanislav Křeček, who has recently attacked the inhabitants of socially excluded localities in an article he authored. Balážová began the discussion by explaining the origin of these localities in the 1990s and rejecting Křeček's populist statements.

"I find it very unfair to speak this way about people living in social exclusion. I know a number of people who live in social exclusion who are trying to get out of it," she said, citing the Romani students in ROMEA's Scholarship Program as an example.

"Despite living there, those people study. Then, unfortunately, including as a result of the statements you make, they have to deal with very unpleasant attacks on their persons in public spaces, even though they are not the ones responsible for this situation," Balážová said.

The journalist also reminded viewers that over the last 30 years, Romani people themselves have just not been afforded the opportunity to participate in resolving the situation in such localities because they have never been in positions where they would be given the authority to resolve the situation, and that it is majority-society politicians in such positions who are responsible for resolving it. She also pointed out that Křeček had an opportunity to participate in the creation of the country's Roma inclusion strategy for the next 10 years from his position as Public Defender of Rights, but he contributed nothing to its design. 

Only once the strategy was ready for adoption did the ombudsman criticize what he saw as its flaws. During the discussion, Křeček just repeated his allegations about excluded localities and claimed he had never identified their inhabitants as Romani in his article.

That claim is false, as the following excerpt from his piece reveals: "Acknowledging the connection between the emergence of excluded localities and the Romani minority, which is a fact even though many of the defenders of human rights in the salons deny it, is a credit to [former Agency for Social Inclusion director] Mr. Šimáček, but it is far from capturing the reality. After all, everybody knows those localities were not always 'excluded,' and they did not become these devastated, excluded parts of our lives until the 'activities' of specific individuals." 

The moderator then asked the ombudsman whether he could outline his own solution to the situation in such localities. Křeček replied that he is not an expert and has no solution.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Jarmila Balážová, Prima TV, Racism, Stanislav Křeček


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