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Roma reps condemn Zeman’s words, warn of his re-election

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Prague, Nov 11 (CTK) – The Roma members of the Czech government council for Roma affairs protest against President Milos Zeman saying that the country’s unadaptable inhabitants include 90 percent of Roma people, and call on citizens not to back his re-election in an open letter released on server

“The head of state must not dare to make public statements like that, without any serious background data. In doing so, he denigrates the position of one of the legally-recognised ethnic minorities and feeds the negative views of citizens,” they wrote.

Zeman mentioned Roma people in his interview with the Barrandov TV on Thursday, while commenting on a U.N. report, which recommends ways for Czechia to improve the human rights situation in the country. The report also calls for a better integration of Roma people in Czech society.

Zeman said it would be of no use to apply a positive discrimination to Romanies, because even positive discrimination is discrimination.

Zeman said unadaptable people are those who decline a job offer though they are healthy.

“It is probably true that 90 percent of them are Roma. Nevertheless, there may also be 10 percent of white lazybones and we have to approach both [groups] equally. Only if we discriminated against either of the two groups, either positively or negatively, it would amount to human rights violation,” Zeman said.

The four Roma members of the government council write in their letter that Zeman has been constantly crossing the limits of decency and that his service to the state is poor and counter-productive.

Zeman’s TV interview showed his incompetence in the human rights area, they write.

They mention the whole government council’s July statement on Zeman’s words about the liquidation of a pig farm in south Bohemia, which stands on the site of a former wartime Roma concentration camp.

Zeman called the planned purchase of the farm by the sate and its removal economically ineffective, since the site would remain unexploited.

The council reacted saying that in similar cases, homage to victims stands above pragmatic values.

In their latest letter, the Roma representatives say Zeman is campaigning for re-election in the direct presidential polls due in January, and his new statements challenge fundamental human values.

“Not only as members of the government council but also as responsible citizens, we are openly calling on voters not to cast their ballots for the incumbent President Zeman. This country needs quite a different kind of personality at its helm,” the signatories write.

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