Czech authorities have been heavily criticised for detaining two Uzbek nationals near the city of Pilsen at the request of the government in Tashkent. According to the Radio Free Europe website, Omanullo Maqsudov and Zohid Mirzaev were detained on an Interpol warrant while crossing the Czech-German border on July 3. The Human Rights Watch bureau in Berlin has reacted strongly to the news, saying that the men have already been granted full refugee status in Germany and that their lives could be in danger should the Czech authorities return them to Uzbekistan.
Reports of the sterilization of Romany women stretch back to the 1970s. Experts suspect that there could be up to 2000 women in the Czech Republic, who have been sterilized against their will. Since 1991 at least 85 women and one man have lodged complaints with the Czech ombudsman, claiming to have been sterilized involuntarily. The Vybor pro lidska prava a biomedecinu (the Commission for biomedicine and human rights), a government advisory committee, this week suggested that the state should create a fund to compensate these women. The suggested
A popular senator and local mayor from the north Moravian city of Ostrava is fighting accusations of racism, following the release on Tuesday of a recording of a local housing committee meeting. Senator Liana Janackova is apparently heard making derogatory and threatening remarks about Romanies in her ward, remarks which she says have been taken out of context.
Czech police have arrested a group of Ukrainians alleged to have forced Ukrainian and Bulgarian citizens into "slave labour", the website iDnes reported. Three Ukrainian men are accused of luring workers to the Czech Republic, then taking their passports and forcing them to work under inhumane conditions. The three have been charged with people trafficking. Police in Ukraine are searching for a fourth member of the gang. The case was uncovered by a special Czech police unit set up to tackle "slave labour".
Czech-born Zuzana Brejcha is an Austrian filmmaker whose latest project "Gypsy Tears"( Romane Apsa)was screened at a Prague art cinema this week. The two-hour+ documentary was Brejcha's first outing as a director - after 25 years in editing - and she admits her project had a far greater impact on her life than she ever expected. Gypsy Tears is a complex portrait of several Romany families living in an extremely poor settlement in eastern Slovakia, where living conditions leave much to be desired.
The Romany hip hop group Gipsy.cz have gradually built up a following here in the Czech Republic, with their unusual mix of rap and traditional gipsy music and lyrics in Czech, English and Romani. But the band, led by Radoslav (Gipsy) Banga, have set their sights higher: on international success. Their most recent album reached the European World Music Top Ten, and at the weekend Gipsy.cz notched up another career milestone when they played at perhaps the world's greatest music festival, England's Glastonbury.
A government office dealing with the integration of the Roma minority into
the rest of society is expected to be fully functional by the beginning of
next year. In a televised debate programme on Sunday, Minister without
Portfolio responsible for minorities and human rights, Dzamila Stehlikova,
said the office would strive to prevent discrimination against Roma but
also their abuse of social benefits. A staff of some 70 people will
coordinate efforts by local authorities, schools, NGOs, and ministries.
Those sociologists specialising in minority issues who have voiced their reservations so far say they fear that the office will focus on individual cases. In a poll conducted by the Median agency, 80 percent of respondents saw the integration of the Roma community as a major problem in the Czech Republic.
A total of 346 homosexual couples, 126 in Prague, have entered into
registered partnerships since a Czech law made them legal last year. The
youngest registered couple is 18 years old; the oldest over the age of 80.
In the one year that the law on same-sex registered partnerships has been
in effect, three couples have already annulled their "marriage"
and three more are waiting for their "divorce" to come through.
The law on registered partnerships allows gays and lesbians to enquire about their partner's state of health, inherit their partner's property, and refuse to testify against their partner in a court of law. They are allowed to raise children but not adopt them.
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A mask-tree as a form of solidarity
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