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June 25, 2022



František Kostlán

Author's articles

Commentary: Czech society is becoming extremist - where will it end?

Prague, 27.2.2011 0:23, (ROMEA) The atmosphere of any society can become oppressive and stifling, often for an unbearably long time. The consistency of any atmosphere is almost always changed by politics and politicians, visible people whose behavior is perceived as establishing the norm. This is why changes in the atmosphere tend to precede the fundamental turning points in the life of a society. It is quite possible that such a change is about to occur in our society, because traditional values here are slowly transforming into a caricature of themselves, and the term "human rights" is perceived by many today more as a slur than as a basic concept which we only stumbled across at the cost of a great deal of painful history.  full story

Many Roma children in Czech ghettos only complete primary school

Prague, 29.12.2010 22:06, (ROMEA) The Czech Republic is continually criticized for segregating Roma children into "special schools" and "special classes" at mainstream elementary schools. Even if Roma children living in excluded localities complete a mainstream primary education, a different career awaits most of them than awaits most of their majority-society peers. According to a study by sociologist Ivan Gabal's GAC company, up to 16 % of Roma children completing ninth grade at a mainstream primary school located near a socially excluded locality will not continue their education.  full story

Anna Šabatová awarded Alice Masaryk prize by US embassy

Prague, 14.12.2010 20:30, (ROMEA) Former deputy ombudsman Anna Šabatová has been awarded the Alice Garrigue Masaryk prize by the US embassy to the Czech Republic this year for her contributions to human rights. Šabatová, who signed Charter 77 and is currently chair of the Czech Helsinki Committee, received the prize from US chargé d‘affaires Joseph Pennington, who said she had won the award for her life-long courage in the fight for justice, for her committed work on behalf of society at the office of the ombudsman, and for her ongoing efforts to improve conditions for people in the Czech Republic and in Europe.  full story

Commentary: The vicious circle of arson investigations and verdicts

Prague, 14.12.2010 18:14, (ROMEA) The courts in the Czech Republic are supposed to evaluate each case on its individual merits. If the court concludes a particular case is somehow different from others which might at first glance seem similar (or analogous, or even the same), it may decide that case should be given a different legal classification, and the punishment concerned may then also be of a different magnitude. Of course, the justice system as a state institution is supposed to be accountable to the public - in other words, no judge lives in a vacuum. The reasons for classifying an incident as constituting a particular crime and the subsequent punishment invoked must therefore be described convincingly and thoroughly if society is to take the justice system seriously. In the case of the Czech Republic, we can say the justice system must do this if it wants a reputation that earns society's respect.  full story

Czech PM Petr Nečas at Gypsy Spirit: Prejudice deforms the rules

Prague, 13.12.2010 19:39, (ROMEA) This year's awarding of the Gypsy Spirit prizes took place under the auspices of Czech PM Petr Nečas, who attended the event from start to finish instead of merely making a formal appearance as some politicians tend to do. He delivered his opening remarks without notes. News server publishes the full transcript of those remarks below.  full story

Czech Constitutional Court rejects extremist's charge that judge is biased

Brno, 9.12.2010 14:10, (ROMEA) The ČT 24 news channel reports that the Czech Constitutional Court has rejected a complaint filed by Patrik Vondrák, the former chair of the Prague cell of the (neo)Nazi Worker's Party (Dělnická strana), which was dissolved by the Supreme Administrative Court earlier this year. In the complaint, Vondrák alleged that Judge Věra Bártová of the Prague 1 District Court is biased. The extremist is currently on trial in Prague on suspicion of supporting and promoting a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms. Constitutional Court spokesperson Jana Pelcová has confirmed his complaint was rejected. Vondrák is still waiting for the Constitutional Court to decide on yet another complaint he filed regarding being taken into custody.  full story

Roma in Czech town protest mayor's generalizations about them

Nový Bydžov, 7.12.2010 14:11, (ROMEA) On Sunday, 5 December a Czech Television report on the situation in the town of Nový Bydžov opened with local resident Petr Suchánek, the initiator of a petition against the Roma, saying, "A handful of residents is terrorizing the majority and radical solutions are desired." The broadcast also quotes Mayor Pavel Louda (ODS) claiming police would be supplying him with statistics on crimes committed by Roma, even though statistics on suspects disaggregated by ethnicity are not kept by the police. The report was broadcast as part of the "168 Hours" program.  full story

Czech mayor fights crime by collectively blaming Roma

Nový Bydžov, 27.11.2010 18:46, (ROMEA) The town hall of Nový Bydžov, Czech Republic has announced a "war on Gypsies" after several muggings and a rape were reported there. According to a statement on the town's official website, a special security commission is in place and there are plans to strengthen the municipal police.  full story

Czech town says video of Roma police assistants can't be released

Litvínov, 16.11.2010 15:59, (ROMEA) Last week the Litvínov town hall did not respond to news server's efforts to contact the leadership for comment regarding the ongoing Roma police assistant case, so the editors sent their questions to Mayor of Litvínov Daniel Volák (ODS) in writing. In the interim, the ODS party lost the municipal elections there. Newly-elected mayor Milan Šťovíček then instructed former Vice-Mayor Martin Klika, who is now the Municipal Police Chief, to respond to us. The response was sent to us by Eva Maříková, the press spokesperson for the town of Litvínov. Our original letter and the town's response are printed in full below:  full story

Laurenčíková: Delays to Czech education reform are uneconomical and unethical

Prague, 9.11.2010 22:26, (ROMEA) Klára Laurenčíková has been advocating for fundamental changes at the Czech Education Ministry to promote the inclusion of disabled and socially disadvantaged pupils into mainstream education. After first working as Deputy Minister, she was removed from that position in March of this year when then-Education Minister Miroslava Kopicová decided to shut down the group dedicated to social programs in then elementary schools. Laurenčíková continued her work as director of the Special Education Section before going on maternity leave in June. After returning to work, she accepted Czech Education Minister Josef Dobeš's offer to work as an external adviser. The concept she has been advocating has been de facto suspended by Dobeš.  full story

Commentary: Czech domestic intelligence services anything but smart

Prague, 5.11.2010 13:54, (ROMEA) Members of the Security Information Service (Bezpečnostní informační služba – or BIS for short) in the Czech Republic are sometimes colloquially referred to as “bison”. Once again the bison are performing about as well as a damp firecracker, issuing a report (and not for the first time) that is written so amateurishly as to be an embarrassment.  full story

Czech Supreme Court reinstates sentencing of Roma ex-police officer

Brno, 3.11.2010 12:05, (ROMEA) Roma ex-police officer Martin Barkóci must return to prison to serve out a sentence of two years and nine months for allegedly covering up a crime. The Czech Supreme Court in Brno has rejected his appeal and has also rejected a complaint filed on his behalf by former Czech Justice Minister Daniela Kovářová regarding illegalities in his sentencing by the High Court in Prague. Kovářová exercised her right to suspend Barkóci's sentence in January of this year, the daily Právo reports.  full story

Commentary: Czech Facebook and the Vítkov arson sentences

Prague, 23.10.2010 10:17, (ROMEA) The responses to the Vítkov verdict and the length of the sentences have been no surprise. Those who agree with them find them justified, and those who disagree question them. In addition to legitimate opinions questioning the length of the sentencing in relation to the crime in question, there are also opinions (primarily on the internet) that repeat outright inventions, lies and stereotypes about the victims ad infinitum.  full story

Two decades of neo-Nazi and racist violence in Central Europe

Prague, 21.10.2010 8:27, (ROMEA) The following is a summary of the basic information available regarding neo-Nazi and racist attacks on Roma committed in the Czech Republic and Central Europe. We start with a chronology of last year's arson attack in Vítkov before moving on to a selection of verdicts handed down in other attacks by right-wing extremists against Roma, including arson attacks on Roma homes committed by neo-Nazis and promoters of the extreme right in Germany, Hungary and Slovakia.  full story

World Bank: Roma integration is of economic benefit

Prague, 4.10.2010 18:38, (ROMEA) According to a World Bank (WB) study, the inclusion of Roma into society, specifically the provision of equal opportunity for their access to employment, is economically beneficial for all parties involved – for the Roma, the larger society, and the state. Joost de Laat, a World Bank economist studying human development in Europe and Central Asia, presented the study at a meeting of the International Steering Committee of the Decade of Roma Inclusion in Prague last week.  full story

Benefit concert in Prague tonight for Natálka, victim of anti-Roma arson attack

Prague, 18.9.2010 15:11, (ROMEA) Leading publicist and sociologist Fedor Gál has organized a Concert for Natálka to take place tonight and has also launched a web page about Natálka Kudriková’s life, "The concert and web page are part of a project called Pro Natálku (For Natálka). Part of it will be a documentary we are making for Czech Television, but the main point is permanent contact with the family, the fact that we have gotten to know one another and become friends, which is both personally rewarding and our motivation,” Fedor Gál told news server  full story

Czech Roma refuse to meet with extremist candidate

Karlovy Vary, 10.9.2010 21:34, (ROMEA) Ladislav Bílý, chair of the Roma Civic Association in Karlovy Vary, refused to meet today with Ladislav Paštéka, the leading candidate of the Public Affairs party (Věcí veřejné - VV) in Chodov, Sokolov district. Prior to joining VV, Paštéka was a member of the ultra-right National Party (Národní strana – NS), which fell apart last December, and a member of its “protection corps”, called the “National Guard” (Národní garda – NG).  full story

Czech ministers want to speak with Roma about truancy

Litvínov, 3.9.2010 16:09, (ROMEA) Lidové noviny (LN) reports that Roma families living in North Bohemia will receive an unusual visit on Monday afternoon. Czech Labor and Social Affairs Minister Jaromír Drábek (TOP 09) and Czech Education Minister Josef Dobeš (VV) will travel to the region together with Czech Human Rights Commissioner Michael Kocáb to explain why welfare benefits depend on children’s school attendance.  full story

Bratislava massacre: Allegedly problematic woman said not to be Roma

Bratislava, 2.9.2010 14:49, (ROMEA) News server reports that the family of the late Ms Slezáková, murdered on Monday by Ľubomír Harman, also now deceased, was not 100 % Roma. The men in the family were Roma, but the women were not. The attacker’s motivation is not yet clear.  full story

Incoming human rights advisor to Czech PM praises authoritarianism, Pinochet

Prague, 21.8.2010 16:51, (ROMEA) Czech PM Petr Nečas, defending his choice of human rights advisor, Roman Joch, has characterized him as a “paleo-conservative”. In comments to the press made during a visit to Berlin yesterday, the daily Právo reported Nečas as saying he does not always agree with Joch’s unvarnished opinions.  full story

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