Thursday, 24 April 2014

NGO: Czechs' anti-Roma sentiment on the rise

27 April 2012

Brno, April 26 (CTK) - Resentment towards Romanies has increased from 60 to 75 percent among the Czech population in the past decade, the Czech Helsinki Committee (CHV) has found out, its member Petr Uhl told journalists Thursday.

He said this atmosphere has contributed to a decline in the living standard of Romanies, who are the poorest group of the population anyway.

Uhl also pointed to the rising number of supporters of neo-Nazism.

He appreciated the work of civic groups, including Romany and pro-Romany ones, which focus on protecting fundamental human rights.

The debate on the Romany problem and help to Romanies have moved from the government level to regions, towns and common life, Uhl said.

"Moreover, people have realised, also thanks to the anti-discrimination law and other new laws, that acting violently, inciting to violence and discriminating against others is unlawful," Uhl said.

Recalling the latest developments in Breclav, south Moravia, Uhl praised the local inhabitants for not joining the separate rally the ultra-right extremist Workers' Party of Social Justice (DSSS) held in the town on Saturday within a demonstration in support of a boy beaten up and seriously wounded by unknown assailants, presumably Romanies.

People did not join the DSSS's event because "they already know what the DSSS is like," Uhl said.

On the other hand, many people feel so much free that they have no scruples in disseminating hatred of Romanies, Uhl said.

A Brno conference of human rights experts will discuss Romanies and their position in the Czech Republic and Europe.

It is hosted by the CHV together with the European Association for the Defence of Human Rights (AEDH).

The organisers said Romanies are Europe's strongest ethnic minority comprising ten to twelve million people. They permanently face prejudices, intolerance, discrimination, social exclusion and poverty, the organisers said.

The conference is to focus on three issues - violence targeting Romanies, discrimination against Romanies, and Romanies' access to their rights.

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