The cabinet on Monday unanimously approved a government strategy for Romany integration in the period between 2010 and 2013. The concept was put forward by the Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Michael Kocab and contains guidelines for local administration authorities. The main focus is on creating equal work and education opportunities for the Romany minority and preventing their ghettoization.
Record cold temperatures in the Czech Republic have taken a severe toll, with nine deaths from exposure recorded by the end of the weekend. Most of those who died were homeless, among them three people in Prague and four in Ostrava. Michael Raymond Stannett is the head of the Salvation Army in the Czech Republic; he described the situation on the ground.
Martin Kříž had the “painful experience” of growing up as a mixed-race child in more or less mono-cultural pre-1989 Prague. Now in his 40s, he is helping today’s black Czech children through a new organisation called Čokoládové děti, Chocolate Children. However, Kříž’s main activity is teaching and translating Chinese, as well as helping Czech firms do business in China.
The recent bout of freezing cold weather, with temperatures dropping to minus fifteen degrees at night, has highlighted the plight of the country’s homeless. Shelters are bursting at the seams, and charity organizations are handing out hot soup and tea to help warm those unfortunate enough to have to spend their days – and sometimes nights - on a park bench. Now one restaurant owner has come up with a proposal that might make a difference.
Nový Prostor, a magazine sold by the homeless, is celebrating ten years of its existence. It was first published in 1999, under the name Patron, and since then it has become well-established in the big cities. Now a bi-monthly, Nový Prostor sells around 15,000 copies each and has around 160 sellers all over the Czech Republic.
Police in Brno discovered a five-year-old girl who had been living in a makeshift hut with her homeless mother and the mother’s partner. A warrant had been issued for the three of them several months ago, since the mother had been neglecting to take the child to legally prescribed medical check-ups. The girl was in a healthy but neglected state, and was taken away from her 44-year-old mother to be put into state care.
Around 800 Czech Roma are heading back to the country from Canada according to Friday’s edition of the Czech daily Lidové noviny. Canadian authorities have turned down asylum requests from 400 Czech Roma with a further 400 giving up on the requests, the paper said. The expectations of a mass return were confirmed in Prague by the government office dealing with Roma affairs. It said that local councils would be approached to ensure that families who left could get back their flats without problems. Ottawa re-introduced visas for Czechs in July in reaction to an increasing number of Czech asylum seekers arriving in Canada.
It is well known that the Czech Republic’s Roma minority suffer from a wide variety of social problems, including relatively high levels of unemployment and low levels of educational attainment. Many say they are frequently the victims of discrimination – a claim that has now been borne out by a new European Union study. In fact, it found that Czech Roma suffer more discrimination than any other ethnic minority in the whole of the EU.
Police in České Budějovice have filed charges against a man responsible for a publication entitled The Final Solution of the Gypsy Question, the website tyden.cz reported. The “solution” posited by Jiří Gaudin and its other anonymous authors is sending Romanies “back” to India. Around 20 members of the far-right National Party held a launch for the publication in April this year at the site of a World War II concentration camp for Romanies in Lety, south Bohemia.
Many in the Czech Republic were shocked and outraged when neo-Nazis firebombed the home of a Romany family in north Moravia earlier this year. The family’s youngest daughter Natálka suffered horrific burns in the attack, and was not expected to survive. So there were scenes of joy on Wednesday when the two-year-old was released from hospital after eight months of intensive treatment.
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