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City councils to blame for many excluded localities, analysis says

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Prague, Oct 12 (CTK) – Town halls and property owners are to blame for the formation of more than one-third of excluded localities in the Czech Republic as the ghettoes were formed by their residents’ relocation from other parts of the municipalities, an analysis of socially excluded localities said yesterday.
Impoverished houses, streets and neighbourhoods are now in 297 towns and villages, the analysis said.
Their number is rising in the Czech Republic. It has doubled since 2006 and now there are over 600 of them.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) and some government members will speak with the mayors of some municipalities with the ghettoes.
They have up to 115,000 residents, while the figure stood at 80,000 nine years ago.
Excluded locality is defined as a place with at least 20 people in poverty who are on welfare, are jobless, have debts, low education and face other problems.
“In all, 35 percent of the localities were formed by the guided relocation from other parts of a municipality or municipalities, most often due to the practices of the municipalities and property owners,” the study said.
Human rights campaigners and social inclusion experts have repeatedly criticised the policy of some self-rule bodies.
They have warned that by relocating the poor to a single place or by their mass moving to the fringes of their bounds, the municipalities were preparing future problems for them.
On the other hand, a number of town halls are trying to improve the situation, drafting various projects to gain better education and new jobs, Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier (CSSD) has said.
Perhaps ten billion crowns could be spent on social inclusion from EU means, he added.
The projects in 70 towns and villages are to be coordinated by the government social inclusion agency.
The ghettoes are mostly inhabited by Romanies.
However, the analysis said the number of the places in which they only constituted a minority has been rising and has reached about one-quarter of the total.
Since 2006, impoverished localities have newly appeared in 158 municipalities.
The study said the number of the ghettoes was rising, but they were diminishing.
In the past years, people were also moving to remoter and smaller places, the analysis said.
The biggest number of municipalities with excluded localities, 38, is in Usti Region, north Bohemia, the analysis said.
The biggest, 81, percent rise occurred in the Plzen Region, west Bohemia, it added.
($1=23.856 crowns)

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