A vacant house in Říčany near Prague caught fire in the early hours of Friday. Two people, though to be homeless, were killed. Firefighters arrived at the house briefly after 2 a.m. and were able to get the situation under control quickly, but were unable to save the individuals. Police are investigating the cause of the tragedy.
The Czech government has in the past few years repeatedly been criticized by international bodies for discrimination of Romany children in the Czech education system. Now the Ombudsman’s office has confirmed what the European Commission and the European Court of Human Rights have said all along – that the much criticized practice of sending Romany children to schools for children with learning, mental or physical disabilities persists on a broad scale.
Ombudsman Pavel Varvařovský has warned against continuing discrimination of Roma children in the Czech education system. The Ombudsman said that according to the results of a recent study 32 to 35 percent of Romany children were studying at schools for children with learning, physical or mental disabilities and that most of them were placed there undeservedly in order to spare regular schools the effort of helping them integrate. The Czech Republic has received similar criticism from the European Commission and the European Court of Human Rights.
Around 85 percent of Czechs believe that some population groups are discriminated against on the labour market, according to a new poll by the STEM agency released on Tuesday. Nearly 90 percent of those who took part in the survey said age was the most frequent cause of discrimination, followed by health conditions and pregnancy; some 64 percent of those polled also cited race and ethnicity. The poll suggests that religious beliefs and political convictions, along with sexual orientation, were among less frequent causes of discrimination on the labour market.
A study conducted by the non-governmental organisation People in Need, together with Millward Brown, gauging how Czech secondary school students view Czech society and the world around them, has produced some worrying results. Along with the ‘usual’ dissatisfaction over issues such as poor governance (highlighted in a previous study in 2009) the majority of 1,100 students queried now perceived the number one issue as problems with the Roma minority – citing an alleged unwillingness on their part to work, improve in their studies and so on.
According to a fresh survey by the Milward Brown agency, students of Czech secondary schools believe that there are three main problems in the Czech Republic. The poll found that the majority of the 1100 respondents believe the relationship between mainstream Czechs and Romanies is especially problematic; unemployment and politics in general were also cited as factors that make life in this country more difficult. Commenting on the result, sociologist Ivan Gabal said that Czech secondary school students are even more rigid and prejudiced towards the Romany minority than most adults. Frustration with politics is also on the rise and an increasing number of students would vote for radical parties. Some 12 percent would give their vote to the far-right Workers’ Party for Social Justice, while 13 percent would cast their ballot in favor of the Czech Pirate Party, the survey found.
Three Czech students reached the final round in an international competition (Social Impact Award) recognizing socially-beneficial projects, idnes reports. The three – all students at Charles University – came up with a project called Pragulic (a play on the word Prague and the Czech word for street), by which homeless people could give foreign tourists somewhat atypical tours of Prague: namely of areas they know well. The students behind the project say they want to begin looking for reliable candidates soon. Similar projects already exist in London and Munich, the daily notes.
A homeless man sleeping in a garbage container was killed on Saturday morning when sanitation workers failed to register his presence and dumped him along with the contents into a garbage truck compactor. By the time they realised their mistake, it was too late. The man, a foreign national, was in his mid-forties, a police spokeswoman said. The tragedy happened in Prague’s Žižkov. According to the spokeswoman two similar incidents happened last winter; she said that although workers regularly checked containers, it was sometimes hard to see sleeping figures hidden beneath paper. The tragedy was reported by the ČTK news agency.
They call it the biggest Roma culture festival in the world, and it’s back in Prague for the 14th year. The Khamoro, or World Roma Festival, means nine days of some of the best gypsy bands from all corners of Europe, but also a wide array of cultural and sociological events all aimed at promoting unity and understanding.
The government’s human rights commissioner Monika Šimůnková says the fabricated attack on a Moravian boy by Roma was damaging to the Roma community and those who work with stopping social exclusion. She said she hoped the incident would be a permanent reminder to locals of how cautiously people should approach media information and warned against blaming groups of people for the acts of individuals. Residents of Břeclav took to the streets en masse when a fifteen-year-old boy reported he had been beaten by three Roma. He was hospitalised and lost a kidney. On Thursday he admitted to police that he had in fact fallen off one balcony railing on to another and had invented the story for his mother.
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