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October 18, 2018
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Edita Stejskalová (right) and Petr Torák (center), Romani civil society members of the Czech Government Council on Romani Minority Affairs (PHOTO:  František Bikár, Romea.cz)
Edita Stejskalová (right) and Petr Torák (center), Romani civil society members of the Czech Government Council on Romani Minority Affairs (PHOTO: František Bikár, Romea.cz)

Czech PM chairs Govt Council on Roma, civil society members demand more Romani involvement, less paternalism

12.9.2018 14:21

The Czech Government Council on Romani Minority Affairs addressed several points yesterday at its fourth session this year, during which the civil society members of the council stressed the need to place greater emphasis on community work and involving Romani people themselves in problem-solving; the need to cancel the disbursal of welfare benefits in vouchers instead of in money; and reiterated their refusal to approve the Czech Government's Report on the State of the Romani Minority 2017 as a gesture of their disagreement with the fact that fulfillment of the Romani Integration Strategy is failing because many measures are not being implemented. The meeting was led for the first time by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who chairs the council.

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Czech Government releases funds to demolish pig farm on Romani genocide site, archaeological survey will happen

5.9.2018 7:28 Yesterday the Czech Government decided to release CZK 111 million [EUR 4,311,600] for an archaeological survey, cleanup and demolition work on the grounds of the
defunct pig farm at the site of the former concentration camp for Romani people at Lety. Czech Culture Minister Antonín Staněk (Czech Social Democratic
Party - ČSSD) informed the Czech News Agency and Czech Radio of the decision after yesterday's cabinet session.  full story

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Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs accepting nominations for civil society members

16.8.2018 6:22 The Office of the Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs is beginning the process of appointing new civil society members. The council is chaired by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and has a total of 31 members, 14 of whom represent the state administration and 17 of whom represent the civil society section.  full story

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Edita Stejskalová calls on Czech Govt to create the position of Commissioner for Romani Affairs

1.8.2018 6:48 Speaking yesterday at a demonstration in Prague, Edita Stejskalová, a civil society member of the Czech Government Council on Romani Minority Affairs, called for the Czech Government to immediately create the position of a Commissioner for Romani Affairs. "Romani people do not live in poverty and social exclusion by choice! Romani people are entitled to equal, fair treatment! Romani people do not want to live on the fringes of society! Romani people are demanding that EU institutions and their own Governments educate society to respect the rights of all citizens, and we ask the courts to thoroughly punish advocacy of political opinions based on theories of racial superiority! Romani people demand adequate protection of their lives and personalysecurity, as is guaranteed to all citizens! Romani people demand active, seriously-conceived participation from the national to the international level in decision-making processes," she called on the authorities in a speech that news server Romea.cz. is publishing in full translation below.  full story

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Czech Agriculture Ministry wants to collaborate with Romani business group, says Czech Forests already working with one

12.7.2018 11:28 News server Lidovky.cz reported on 8 July that the Association of Romani Entrepreneurs and Guilds was alleging that "nobody" has responded to their offer to provide Romani workers to combat the bark beetle calamity. The Agriculture Ministry, however, says it welcomes the aid and that negotiations will begin soon.  full story

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Czech Government revives position of Human Rights Commissioner

8.7.2018 9:04 Speaking in an interview for Czech Television on 28 June, Czech Labor and Social Affairs Minister Petr Krčál said the Government had approved Martina Štěpánková for the reinstated position of Human Rights Commissioner. Prior to the abolition of the post of Human Rights Minister and the allocation of the human rights agenda to the Justice Ministry at the end of 2017, she had been the Deputy Human Rights Minister.  full story

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Czech Foreign Ministry flies Romani flag, outgoing Foreign Minister and Justice Minister meet with Roma

10.4.2018 8:46 On the occasion of International Roma Day, the outgoing Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický and outgoing Justice Minister Robert Pelikán met at the Czech Foreign Ministry on 9 April 2018 with several Romani figures. The main subject of the meeting was support for the Romani minority and improvement of interethnic coexistence and tolerance between the majority society and the Romani minority in the Czech Republic and the international context.
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Czech Justice Minister now in charge of human rights agenda, but will he join the next Government?

12.3.2018 7:08 The Friday edition of the daily Lidové noviny (LN) reported that outgoing Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) is rumored to have agreed with Czech President Miloš Zeman that Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikán (ANO), currently entrusted with the human rights agenda, will not be in the next Government. LN reported that he will be replaced by Deputy Interior Minister Petr Mlsna, who is a lawyer.  full story

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Czech Constitutional Court receives complaint over buyout of pig farm on Romani genocide site

2.2.2018 7:03 The Czech Constitutional Court received a complaint in mid-January about the approval of the handover of the pig farm in Lety (Písek district) to the state. The daily Lidové noviny (LN) reported yesterday that the filing concerns the decree through which the previous coalition government of Bohuslav Sobotka (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) approved of the purchase last August.  full story

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Czech Republic: ROMEA plans public debates about future of Roma genocide site once Museum of Romani Culture takes over

12.1.2018 9:25 Kristina Kohoutová, spokesperson for the Museum of Romani Culture in the Czech Republic, announced in a press release on 9 January that the Museum will be assuming ownership of the grounds of the soon-to-be closed pig farm at Lety (Písek district) in March. During WWII the location was used as a labor camp and as a detention camp for Romani people.  full story

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It's official! Czech state to pay roughly CZK 450 million to buy out pig farm on Roma genocide site

24.10.2017 8:07 The Czech state will pay roughly CZK 450 million [EUR 17,548,758], including VAT, to buy out the pig farm at Lety located on the site of a former concentration camp for Romani people. The purchase contract was published by the Czech Government yesterday.

 full story

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Czech Deputy Trade Minister's pay is docked after posting to Facebook that "Gypsies are like jellyfish - poisonous and useless"

15.9.2017 14:43 Czech news server Aktuálně.cz reported yesterday that Karel Novotný, the Czech Deputy Trade Minister who is running for Parliament for the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) in the Ústecký Region, has posted to Facebook the remark that Romani people are like jellyfish because they are, in his opinion, "poisonous and useless".
He will be losing his quarterly salary as a result.  full story

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Czech Gov't human rights report finds Romani children are still discriminated against in education

1.9.2017 8:18 Children of Romani origin continue to be discriminated against in their access to education in the Czech Republic even after the launch of inclusive measures - while they are no longer being recommended for enrolment into the so-called "special schools", they are frequently taught separately from non-Romani children in "Romani" classes or schools. That is just one finding of the annual report on the state of human rights in the Czech Republic for last year that the Czech Government is scheduled to discuss on Monday.  full story

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Czech Republic: Pig farm shareholders to vote again on sale before year-end

24.8.2017 17:39 The Czech News Agency reported on 22 August that after the AGPI firm, which owns the pig farm at Lety, signs the purchase agreement to sell the farm buildings to the state, its shareholders must still agree to the sale at a general assembly. The purchase agreement will then take effect after the new year.  full story

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Czech company accepts state offer to buy pig farm on Roma genocide site

7.8.2017 17:43 The AGPI company is accepting the Czech Government's offer to buy the pig farm in Lety u Písku that is standing on the site of the Protectorate-era concentration camp for Romani people there. Neither side is publicizing the price.
 full story

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Czech union demands severance pay for staff at pig farm closing on Roma genocide site, firm says employees are not members

1.8.2017 20:05 The Union of Agricultural and Food Workers in the Czech Republic is demanding the employer at the pig farm in Lety which may soon be sold pay severance equivalent to two years' salary if the state buys out the farm. The union believes financial compensation for the workers at Lety must be part of the contract on selling the farm.  full story

Czech firm able to negotiate sale of pig farm on Roma genocide site for first time

31.7.2017 15:40 Czech Radio's Radiožurnál station reports that the AGPI agricultural company has held its general meeting and agreed to transfer the pig farm at Lety to the Czech state. The board will now be entrusted with negotiating the price and other conditions of the sale with the state.  full story

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Czech Government "takes note" of Report on the State of the Romani Minority for 2016

28.7.2017 10:19 The Czech Government at the beginning of this week discussed and took note of the "Report on the State of the Romani Minority for 2016", which assesses the development of the situation for Romani people in the Czech Republic and the success of state measures to support Romani integration. Documents entitled "Information about the Fulfillment of the Roma Integration Strategy to 2020" and "Information about the Fulfillment of Government Decrees" on the integration of the Romani minority and the active approach of the state administration to implementing measures adopted by related Government decrees as of 31 December 2016 were part of the review.  full story

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Czech Government to resign: Technocratic cabinet could endanger the buy-out of the pig farm at Romani genocide site

3.5.2017 17:28 The current political situation around the upcoming resignation of the Government could impact the negotiations about the buy-out of the industrial pig farm at Lety u Písku, the site of a former concentration camp for Romani people during WWII. A decision about buying the site was originally to be made in June.  full story

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Czech Republic: David Beňák is now Deputy Human Rights Minister, his priority is the law on social enterprises

7.4.2017 7:44 David Beňák (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) has become the new political deputy to Czech Human Rights and Legislation Minister Jan Chvojka (ČSSD) on Monday, 3 April. He replaces Marek Ondroušek, who is now moving to the Trade Ministry to be Deputy Minister for Electronic Communications.  full story

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