Plans are afoot to compensate thousands of Czech women, many from the Roma minority, sterilised against their will between the early 1970s and the early 1990s. Lidové noviny reported on Friday that victims could receive up to CZK 150,000 each under legislation being prepared by the human rights minister and an NGO, the Czech Helsinki Committee. I asked the latter’s director Lucie Rybová how many victims were likely to benefit from the scheme, if it is approved.
Minister of Culture Daniel Herman led a commemoration on Friday at the site of the World War Two Lety internment camp for Roma which was created in July 1942. Herman recalled that the labour and internment camp for the Roma population from Bohemia camp was run by Czech officials from the Protectorate police force and that their brutality was equal to anything carried out by the Germans. Most of those who died at the camp were children. Those who survived were sent to their deaths at Auschwitz death camp. Herman said he and minister for human rights Jiří Dienstbier were working on plans so that part of the site of the camp would no longer be a pig farm but a suitable commemorative site.
Social Watch, an international anti-poverty advocacy group, has criticized the Czech Republic over increasing numbers of overpriced and substandard accommodation facilities often used by the poor, and continuing anti-Romany rallies. In its annual report for 2013 released on Wednesday, the group says the country was affected by chaos, incompetence, record-high unemployment and decreasing living standards for a majority of the population. The group has also criticized a lack of women in the lower house of Parliament and other top political positions.
The Czech Republic’s new Romany elite is rising due to increasing numbers of Romanies with university degrees, the news website idnes.cz reported on Sunday. While only around 100 of the country’s 250,000-strong Romany community are currently studying at Czech universities, the number of those receiving some type of scholarships has tripled over the last nine years, from 59 to 151, according to figures by Romea, an advocacy group. Romany leaders quoted in the report say the rising number of university students has a big impact both on the Romany community and the majority society but note their overall number is still very small.
Police have charged a man with an attack on a homeless man in Prague that resulted in the latter’s death. The accused, who is 34, faces a charge of grievous bodily harm resulting in death in connection with the incident, which occurred near the Hradčanská tram stop in Prague 6 on Monday, and faces up to 16 years in jail if found guilty. The motive for the attack, in which the victim was beaten and kicked, was a debt of CZK 350, a police spokesperson said.
Police are searching for a man who brutally beat up a homeless person in the streets of Prague in the early hours of Monday. The homeless man died of grievous internal injuries shortly after. The incident happened shortly before 7am at a Hradčanská tram stop. The police have released a description of the aggressor and asked potential witnesses to come forward. If convicted the man could face a sentence of up to 16 years.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Thursday met with the Minister For Human Rights and Minorities Jiří Dienstbier to discuss problems and priorities in the given portfolio. He praised the minister’s strategy in fighting social exclusion and integrating the Roma minority. Minister Dienstbier is pushing ahead with plans to establish social housing and is currently working on a bill that would increase the powers of the Ombudsman.
The Czech national anthem which opens with the line “Where is my home?” inspired the creation of a new spot intended to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless. A homeless man at Prague’s main railway station shouts the question and starts singing the anthem as others walk up and join in – directing the question at largely disinterested passers-by. The spot made by the Czech Salvation Army in cooperation with the Scottish director Callum Ferguson aims to break down existing prejudices and raise more public support for those without a roof
Some 45 percent of Czechs support gay couples’ right to marry, according to a poll by the CVVM agency released on Friday. Around 73 percent of those surveyed said they were in favour of gay people’s registered partnership. The share of those supporting gay marriage has decreased by six percentage points since the previous poll conducted last year, the agency said. Meanwhile, some 45 percent of people in the Czech Republic believe gays should be able to adopt children, an idea opposed by 48 percent of those who took part in the poll.
With Vietnamese gangs getting increasingly involved in the drug crime scene in the Czech Republic, the Czech authorities have requested assistance from Vietnam’s police and judiciary in dealing with the problem. A meeting of the country’s interior ministers on Monday paved the way for close cooperation in fighting drug-related crime.
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