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Discrimination against Roma in Access to Employment in Czech Republic

29 October 2003

Ms Marcela Zupková, a 30-year-old Romani woman from Hradec Králové in northeastern Czech Republic, was denied employment at AKYMA, a local company seeking to hire unskilled sales workers, on the basis of her ethnicity, according to the local daily newspaper Hradecké Noviny/Deníký Bohemia of January 24, 2003. The local Employment Office had sent Ms Zupková to AKYMA, but when she arrived, Ms Eva Panochová, a representative of AKYMA, informed her that there was no work for her because the company does not employ Roma, according to Ms Zupková's statement in the daily. Ms Panochová went so far as to write "Romani origin" as the reason for refusal on a form for the Employment Office and told Ms Zupková that customers would have a problem with the company if it employed Roma. In a statement to the daily, Ms Panochová said that after working for long enough to gain access to social benefits, most Roma quit their jobs.

According to the daily, Ms Maria Paclíková, head of the Employment Office's Mediation Department, was fully supportive of Ms Zupková, stating that the decision of AKYMA to not employ her was discriminatory. On January 30, 2003, the Czech national daily newspaper Mladá Fronta Dnes (MFDnes) reported that the Employment Office had initiated an administrative procedure against AKYMA, with a maximum fine for discrimination being 250,000 Czech crowns (approximately 7,900 Euro). Also according to MFDnes, an attorney for Ms Panochová presented a different version of events, stating that she had mistakenly written "Romani origin" as the reason for refusal due to stress and pressure from Ms Zupková.

On February 23, 2003, Ms Zupková informed the ERRC that she had filed a criminal complaint against AKYMA for defamation. On March 25, 2003, the Czech State television station ČT 1 reported that the Czech police had closed their investigation in the case, finding that Ms Panochová had not committed the criminal act of publicly defaming Ms Zupková, but found that a summary offense had been committed. The case was reportedly passed to the Hradec Králové Town Office, which will decide the amount of the fine that Ms Panochová must pay Ms Zupková. On May 23, 2003, attorney David Strupek, with the support of the Prague-based non-governmental organisation Councelling Center for Citizenship/Civil and Human Rights (Poradna), filed a civil complaint with the Hradec Králové Regional Court on behalf of Ms Zupková. In the complaint, filed against Ms Marie Rehaková - the owner of AKYMA - Ms Zupková requests a public apology and 250,000 Czech crowns (approximately 7,750 Euro) in non-pecuniary damages for racial discrimination and defamation.

(ERRC, Hradecké Noviny/Deníký Bohemia, MFDnes)

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ERRC submission to UN HRC on Hungary (February 2018)

14 February 2018

Written Comments of the European Roma Rights Centre concerning Hungary to the UN Human Rights Committee for consideration at its 122nd session (12 Narch - 6 April 2018).

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The Fragility of Professional Competence: A Preliminary Account of Child Protection Practice with Romani and Traveller Children in England

24 January 2018

Romani and Traveller children in England are much more likely to be taken into state care than the majority population, and the numbers are rising. Between 2009 and 2016 the number of Irish Travellers in care has risen by 400% and the number of Romani children has risen 933%. The increases are not consistent with national trends, and when compared to population data, suggest that Romani and Traveller children living in the UK could be 3 times more likely be taken into public care than any other child. 

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Families Divided: Romani and Egyptian Children in Albanian Institutions

21 November 2017

There’s a high percentage of Romani and Egyptian children in children’s homes in Albania – a disproportionate number. These children are often put into institutions because of poverty, and then find it impossible ever to return to their families. Because of centuries of discrimination Roma and Egyptians in Albania are less likely to live in adequate housing, less likely to be employed and more likely to feel the effects of extreme poverty.

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