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August 18, 2018
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New Zealand grants asylum to family from Czech Republic with non-Romani and Romani members because of neo-Nazi death threats

29.1.2018 18:24
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Radio New Zealand reported today that a woman and her three sons have been awarded political asylum in New Zealand because they faced death threats from neo-Nazis in their home country of the Czech Republic. The father of two of the boys is Romani, their adopted brother is also Romani, and according to their non-Romani mother, her children have faced, among other things, discrimination in education because of their ethnicity.

The authorities in New Zealand first awarded refugee status just to one nine-year-old boy from the family. After his brothers and mother appealed, they were awarded international protection as well.

Radio New Zealand reports that the woman separated from her Romani partner in 2013 and told the immigration court that her family began receiving death threats from neo-Nazis and that somebody threw fireworks at their apartment building in the Czech Republic. The woman also testified that her oldest son had faced segregation at school as well as emotional and physical abuse because of his ethnicity and that his teachers did nothing about it.

The woman told the court she had adopted her second son from a children's home and that, according to Radio New Zealand, he was recommended for enrolment into a school for children with special needs just because he was "Romani and black". It was that second boy, the middle child of the three, who was awarded asylum in New Zealand last year after his first request, and the rest of the family was awarded asylum on appeal.

The immigration court decided the entire family had been victims of harassment "as part of an escalating campaign of hate crimes" in the Czech Republic. Radio New Zealand reports the family testified that the children were called "dirty gypsies" at school, in public parks, in shops and on the street.

The harassment began escalating, according to the court records, in 2015 when the family reportedly received a letter stating that somebody "better than Hitler" would soon appear and get rid of them. Another letter received by the family reportedly asked rhetorically: "Gas smells good, doesn't it?"

The woman testified to the immigration court that the Czech Police never even made any record of her complaints about this treatment. In 2016 the family reportedly had to hide for an entire night in their bathroom after hearing somebody throw fireworks at their apartment unit, because they were afraid that the exploding objects being thrown might be Molotov cocktails.

The family fled to New Zealand after that incident. Radio New Zealand reported that court records state that after that evening "The mother undertook immediate steps leading to their getaway in order to avoid further escalation."

The court also stated that in the Czech Republic, anti-Romani demonstrations, marches and unrest began in 2013 and that hate crimes and racism in the Central European country are becoming "more and more normal". Now it has ruled that it is granting the family asylum because they face persecution in their home country.



brf, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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