Roma People Still Face Discrimination In Czech Republic, Says Council of Europe Commissioner
Dunja Mijatovic made her comments following her five-day visit to the Czech Republic last week. Photo credit: www.coe.int.
Strasbourg, Feb 28 (CTK) – Roma people in the Czech Republic still face discrimination in almost all aspects of life, and efforts are required on several fronts to change the situation, Council of Europe human rights commissioner Dunja Mijatovic said yesterday.
Among other things, she highlighted a different approach to Ukrainian Roma compared with other refugees from the war-torn Ukraine.
She made her comments in the wake of her five-day visit to the Czech Republic last week, with the aim of examining the living conditions of the Roma minority and the situation with disabled people’s rights. During her visit she met representatives of the Czech authorities and NGOs.
The Czech Republic should do everything it can to tackle the long-standing issues of discrimination and exclusion faced by Roma and handicapped people, Mijatovic wrote in a press release for the Council of Europe.
She wrote that there have been some positive developments, but it is worrying that many of the problems of discrimination and exclusion identified by her predecessors still persist in the country.
She wrote that Roma people face discrimination in education, housing, the labour market, and in treatment by the police.
She discussed in detail the situation in schools, where she identified the need for a paradigm shift away from the emphasis on testing, which she described as an instrument of segregation of Roma children in lower-quality schools.
Mijatovic also highlighted the problems faced by Roma women trying to access compensation for historic forced sterilisation, and by Roma refugees from Ukraine, which she said has deepened deeply rooted prejudices in Czech society.
Czech authorities are aware of the existing problems, Mijatovic wrote, and are working on strategies to address them, but the implementation of these plans has been ineffective in practice. “There are many good ideas and intentions that could really help Czech society to become more inclusive, but these need proper implementation and enforcement. Unfortunately, an important gap still exists here,” she concluded.