Thursday, 17 April 2014

Exclusion of Roma may threaten social cohesion, report says

14 November 2012

Prague, Nov 13 (CTK) - Social exclusion of a large part of the Romany minority is a serious social problem that may threaten cohesion of the Czech society, says a report on the Romany minority's situation in 2011 that the Czech government will discuss on Wednesday.

The report, submitted by the government's human rights commissioner Monika Simunkova, says problems related to socially excluded Romany-inhabited localities escalated at some places and raised social tension and civic unrest.

"The problem became most visible in the Sluknov area (north Bohemia), also as a result of the media paying attention to it," says the report.

It says the situation in Sluknov worsened due to the overall deterioration of the local people's social and economic level. Nevertheless, the escalation of problems could have been prevented or its impacts softened if local authorities had in time launched "a resolute policy of social inclusion of people threatened by social exclusion," the report says.

In connection with the Romany minority, the government's security policy mainly focuses on phenomena such as extremism, crime and risky forms of behaviour. Last year saw an increase in the activities of extremist movements that used social exclusion of Romanies as a theme for their propaganda, the report says.

"These [right extremist] movements' campaign linked the Romany minority to a certain type of crime and to the crime rise at certain places. Some political representatives, too, resorted to anti-Romany rhetoric," the report says.

It says 69 crimes motivated by anti-Romany hatred were registered in 2011.

The basic security risk potentially triggering social tension and civic unrest is the inhabitants' strategy of adaptation to the conditions in socially excluded localities. Crime and risky forms of behaviour often occur there latently. The more difficult they are to solve, the report points out.

It says the Interior Ministry supported 32 preventive projects with a total of 5,977 million crowns last year.

One of the partial measures is the use of crime prevention assistants. A total of 104 of them operated in 17 towns last year with the aim to curb the number of crimes and offences, enhance law enforcement, prevent disputes between neighbours and latent unlawful activities, and also to change the majority society's approach to socially excluded people.

A total of 164 Romany advisers worked in selected towns in 2011, which is 26 fewer than in the preceding year. Towns' willingness to introduce these posts was negatively influenced by the shortage of money, the report says.

The state spent a total of 75 million crowns on Romany integration last year, 1.5 million less than in 2010, the report writes.

($1=19.921 crowns)

Copyright 2014 by the Czech News Agency (ČTK). All rights reserved.
Copying, dissemination or other publication of this article or parts thereof without the prior written consent of ČTK is expressly forbidden. The Prague Daily Monitor and Monitor CE are not responsible for its content.