Amnesty International: Discrimination against Roma persists in the Czech Republic
The annual report of the global human rights organization Amnesty International (AI) says 2014 was a devastating year for all people trapped in suffering war zones and those fighting for human rights."We must hope that, in retrospect, 2014 will seem like a slump to the very bottom, from which we then rebounded to build a better future," said AI Secretary-General Salil Shetty.
War and mass murder have destroyed the inhabitants of Iraq, Israel, Nigeria, Palestine, Syria and Ukraine. In comparison to the bloodshed and poverty in many countries of the world, life in the Czech Republic is, understandably, exceptionally good.
Nevertheless, some are better off than others here, and the relative peace certainly does not mean that the Czech Republic meets the ideal of an open, democratic, just society of solidarity. The AI report warns, among other things, that discrimination against Romani people persists in the Czech Republic.
The report's section on Roma in the Czech Republic reads as follows:
In June, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights criticized the authorities for the large number of Roma pupils in so-called “practical schools” (former special schools), designed for pupils with mild mental disabilities. The Committee called on the government to abolish practices that lead to the segregation of Roma pupils and to phase out practical schools. It recommended that mainstream schools should provide inclusive education to children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and Roma pupils.
In September, the European Commission initiated infringement proceedings against the authorities for breaching the prohibition of discrimination in education set out in the EU Race Equality Directive.
In August, over four years after the government’s apology for the enforced sterilization of Roma women, the Human Rights Minister announced a draft law offering financial compensation of between 3,500 and 5,000 euros to individual victims. According to the NGO Czech Helsinki Committee, almost 1,000 women were forcibly sterilized between 1972 and 1991 and should be entitled to financial remedy.
In November, the government acknowledged that Roma continued to face discrimination regarding access to housing, education, health care and labour market. The government-commissioned report on the situation of the Roma minority highlighted obstacles in accessing affordable housing, including discrimination by private landlords. The report also highlighted the over-representation of Roma children in practical schools.
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