NGO's quarterly report on hate violence notes Czech President, Deputy Ombudsman made xenophobic statements
During the first quarter of 2017 the In IUSTITIA organization was contacted by members of the public to report a total of 22 hate incidents on the territory of the Czech Republic in which people were targeted by various forms of bias violence because of their actual or perceived homelessness, nationality, political convictions, religion or skin color. Muslims and Romani people were among the most-endangered groups.
Three incidents targeting Muslims and three targeting Romani people with hatred were reported to the NGO. Hate violence was reported primarily as happening either through the Internet or in the public spaces of big cities.
Five hate attacks took place in Jihlava and nine in Prague. "The societal atmosphere was influenced by anti-migrant and anti-Romani sentiment during the first quarter of 2017," says the report.
"That manifested itself, for example, through the racist protests against a dark-skinned male model used in a flier advertising a department store chain, as well as in the attribution of collective blame to all Romani people in the case of a flamingo being killed at a zoo. Xenophobia was also promoted in society by many politicians," the report says.
The NGO specifically mentions the remarks of Czech President Miloš Zeman or Deputy Ombudsman Stanislav Křeček. The report also takes note of cases publicized by news server Romea.cz involving politicians.
Those incidents featured Facebook posts made by Czech Senator Jaroslav Doubrava or Václav Klaus, Jr., the son of a former Czech President now aiming for high politics himself. The characteristics of the victims attacked in terms of their age, citizenship and sex are also included in the report.
The NGO is tracking what motivates attackers, what form their attacks take, and the numbers of individuals attacked in various localities and regions. It also includes anonymous cases reported to them that are significant, desribing the atmosphere and the response of society to these hate incidents, if any.
"The biggest number of cases with a common motivation were those motivated by political convictions (six incidents)," IN Iustitia reports. "The motivations of homelessness, nationality, religion and skin color also turned up relatively frequently."
"Hatred motivated by age or disability was reported for just a handful of incidents," the NGO notes. "The motivation of ethnicity/nationality can be specified in three cases as hatred of Romani people, who are typically victims of hate violence here."
"One incident involved hatred of the victim because of Czech nationality," says the report. "In terms of motivations based on religion, probably in connection with current events, there were three incidents motivated by the victim's Muslim religion and one where the victim was Jewish."
The forms of damage done include moral harm and personal injury requiring seven days or less of medical treatment. The locations where attacks happen are primarily the Internet, parking lots, public spaces, public transportation, schools and the street.
Those attacked were 13 men and five women, most between the ages of 26 and 45. The report describes some of the hate violence incidents in detail.
"A young Romani student became the target of verbal insults from his teacher," the NGO reports. "She repeatedly told him that he will not pass his graduation examinations because he is a 'Gypsy'."
"The boy felt harmed and humiliated by his teacher's behavior," IN Iustitia reports. The public burning of a copy of the Quran in Prague and racist threats made through Facebook are also described as happening during the first quarter of 2017.
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