"There are more places like this one in the country but as far as size, uniformity, and fame are concerned, we can rightfully claim that Chanov is our Ghetto No. 1." - a quote from a new 90 minute documentary on one of the most infamous Roma housing estates in the country. For almost a year, Czech director Ivan Pokorny filmed the daily life of its residents and explored why Roma and non-Roma Czechs find it so hard to co-exist.
Deputy Prime Minister and Christian Democrat Chairman Jiri Cunek met
with representatives of the Government Council for Roma Affairs on
Thursday to explain his recent comments regarding the Roma community
and present his suggestions concerning a planned government Roma
policy. The council has not issued any recommendation for the
government as to how to proceed in Mr Cunek's case. The meeting was
called last week by the cabinet minister responsible for minorities and
human rights, Dzamila Stehlikova, after Romany organisations staged a
protest outside the cabinet headquarters calling for Mr Cunek to leave
In a recent interview for the tabloid Blesk, Mr Cunek said that in order to be entitled to state subsidies like Romanies, other people would need to get a suntan, behave in a disorderly way and light fires on town squares before politicians would regard them as badly off.
A new official census of homeless people living in the Czech capital suggests that there are around 2000 people without a permanent home in Prague. Around a thousand of them sleep rough, the other half use the services of shelters run by various charities. The new census was carried out by local town halls in individual Prague districts. A broad census conducted three years ago by humanitarian organisations suggested that there were around 3,000 homeless people in Prague, with some estimates putting the figure even higher at 6,000.
My guest in One on One today is Marcela Linkova, a young researcher at the Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences and coordinator of the National Contact Centre - Women in Science. The centre was opened five years ago to support women making a career in science. Since then it has been involved in many activities both on a domestic and international scale from creating databases of women scientists to promoting young female scientific talents. I met Marcela in her office in downtown Prague and first asked her what in her opinion
Just three months after taking office Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek is struggling to keep his centre-right coalition government afloat. A fragile majority in the lower house, a rebel in his own party who is threatening to vote against the government's proposed tax reforms and worst of all a deputy prime minister accused of corruption who has been rocking the boat for weeks. On top of all this, around two hundred angry Roma demonstrators gathered outside government headquarters on Wednesday to demand the dismissal of the said deputy prime minister
Roma activists and representatives of NGOs have held a demonstration
against Deputy Prime Minister Jiri Cunek. Over a hundred protesters
gathered outside the Office of the Government on Wednesday to call for his
departure from cabinet. The controversial politician came out and
to hold a discussion with some demonstrators, but was met with whistles.
Mr Cunek came in for criticism from across the political spectrum after seeming to disparage Romanies in a newspaper interview. He is also under investigation for alleged bribe-taking. However, the Christian Democrats leader has proclaimed his innocence in both instances and has resisted calls for him to step down.
But Jiri Cunek's affairs have had one "casualty": MP Pavel Severa is stepping down as deputy chairman of the Christian Democrats deputies' club, after his calls for the party leader's departure went unheeded.
In a related development, Roma rights activists are planning to stage a protest outside government headquarters on Wednesday, at a time when the cabinet is expected to be in session. Roma activists have announced their intention to file a joint lawsuit against Mr. Cunek for "inciting hatred against an ethnic group". In an recent interview for the Czech tabloid daily Blesk the deputy prime minister suggested that in order to be entitled to state subsidies like Romanies other people would need to get a suntan and start causing trouble in order to attract politician's attention.
It was clear from the moment he entered high politics that the former mayor of the town of Vsetin, Jiri Cunek, was a controversial politician. After he achieved nationwide notoriety for moving Roma rent defaulters from the centre of Vsetin, his political career accelerated. Riding on a wave of popularity, Jiri Cunek won a Senate seat and the chairmanship of his Christian Democratic Party; that eventually launched him to the posts of deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development in the coalition government of Prime Minister Mirek
Czech Roma rights activists have decided to file a lawsuit against
Deputy Prime Minister and Christian Democrat leader Jiri Cunek over his
comments regarding the Roma community. They say his statements might
amount to inciting hatred against the ethnic group. In a recent
interview for the popular tabloid Blesk, Mr Cunek said that in order to
be entitled to state subsidies like Romanies, other people would need
to get a suntan, behave in a disorderly way and light fires on town
squares before politicians would regard them as badly off.
Roma rights activists are calling for Mr Cunek's departure from government. They are planning to stage a protest outside the government headquarters in Prague on Wednesday.
The cabinet minister responsible for minorities and human rights, Dzamila Stehlikova, has said the government will present a policy outline regarding the Roma community in June. A special governmental agency is to start working in the middle of the year assisting municipalities with integration programmes for the Roma. As of September, towns and villages will be able to draw money from European Union funds for their integration programmes.
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