The singer for the popular Czech Roma band Gipsy.cz, which plays an explosive mixture of hip-hop and traditional Romany music, has taken on a new - for his fans perhaps somewhat surprising - role. This week the minister in charge of human rights, Dzamila Stehlikova, appointed Gipsy.cz's Radoslav "Gipsy" Banga ambassador for minorities as part of the European Year of Equal Opportunities.
Police have charged two skinheads with assaulting a public officer. The far-right activists took part in a demonstration in Vlasim, Central Bohemia, on Saturday that was held to draw attention to alleged criminal behaviour of the local Roma community. The skinheads will be prosecuted at liberty, a police spokesperson said on Monday. The demonstration was monitored by the police but the Vlasim town hall was criticized for granting the extreme right activists a permission to march.
Around eight hundred right-wing extremists held a demonstration in the central-Bohemian town of Vlasim on Saturday. The radical "National Corporatism" movement organised a so-called "Race Day" in Vlasim to draw attention to what it says is the criminality of the town's Roma inhabitants. Several civic groups have criticised the decision of the town's authorities to permit the demonstration to be staged. The municipality says it had no choice but to allow the event because the organisers had observed all the proper formalities for holding it. Nevertheless, the demonstration was closely monitored by town police and three neo-Nazis were arrested following a clash with people holding a small counter protest.
The Czech minister for human rights and minorities Dzamila Stehliova has announced that a study of Roma unemployment will be launched in the spring of next year. Czech experts and specialists from the World Bank will participate in the study, which is intended to analyse Roma unemployment in the Czech Republic in comparison with other countries that have Roma minorities. It should also come up with strategic measures and recommendations for improving the situation in areas where Roma unemployment is excessively high.
About 200 skinheads march in Svitavy, some 70 km east of Pardubice, on Saturday in support of Vlastimil Pechanec who was sentenced four years ago to 17 years in prison for a racially motivated murder. In June 2001, Pechanec murdered a local Roma, stabbing him twice in the stomach. The march was already held last year with about 90 skinheads attending. Local Roma initiatives have criticized the Svitavy town hall for giving the organizers permission to march.
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".