European Commission on Racism and Intolerance Issues Third Report on Czech Republic

16 December 2004

On June 8, 2004, the Council of Europe's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) made public its Third Report on Czech Republic. In its Executive Summary, ECRI noted, "A number of recommendations made in ECRI's second report, however, have not, or not fully, been implemented, notably as concerns the issue of combating discrimination and inequality at the local level, an issue which is of special concern to ECRI." An extensive discussion of the situation of Roma follows in the body of the report, followed by recommendations to Czech authorities, including:

"12. ECRI recommends that the Czech authorities take the necessary action to resolve the remaining difficulties in acquiring citizenship encountered by Roma who were citizens of former Czechoslovakia and have been long-term or life-long residents on Czech territory. […]

61. ECRI recommends that further efforts be made to improve the employment situation of the Roma community. It considers that, given the widespread and endemic nature of disadvantage and discrimination faced by Roma on the labour market, special measures (affirmative action) should be implemented aimed at overcoming the high levels of unemployment among Roma communities. […].

62. ECRI encourages the Czech authorities in efforts to adopt legislation in the field of employment and recommends that it provide effective remedies for instances of discrimination at all stages of the employment process. […]

88. ECRI expresses deep concern at the deplorable situation of Roma at the local level. Roma communities continue to suffer from a cumulation of social and economic disadvantage, aggravated by changing economic conditions, discrimination and a lack of willingness by local officials and communities to adopt the necessary measures to improve the situation. There have been few detectable improvements since ECRI's second report. Instead, Roma communities are being increasingly pushed out of Czech towns into ghetto-like neighbourhoods where their condition of marginalisation intensifies. […]

93. ECRI deeply regrets that the majority of local authorities seem not to be motivated to take actions to improve the situation of Roma as such actions are reportedly not popular with local communities and can be politically costly. On the contrary, some local leaders attempt to reap political gains through exploiting racism and taking actions that exclude Roma from local communities. This is all the more worrisome as local authorities have been given jurisdiction over most fields of life influencing the daily existence of Roma communities, either through the execution of their own competencies or through the execution of `transfer' powers, delegated from the central level. […]

99. ECRI recommends that the Czech authorities urgently put in place additional means of supervising municipal actions to ensure that they act in accord with Constitutional guarantees of equality and non-discrimination. […]

100. ECRI stresses the urgent need for the Czech authorities to develop appropriate mechanisms to ensure that local authorities implement national strategies and policies […]. ECRI also recommends that widespread targeted training be aimed at public officials in different sectors of life working at the local level, involving not only general anti-discrimination training, but also awareness raising of legal obligations as concerns equality and non-discrimination as well as relevant national priorities. […]

103. ECRI considers that the principal objective of housing and social policies should be to maintain and foster Roma communities living as part of majority communities. Urgent measures therefore need to be carried out to prevent further evictions, including appropriate and coordinated intervention by social care agencies and measures to put an end to and sanction discriminatory practices at the local level in both the private and public sectors. As far as those Roma communities who are already segregated from the majority society, resources need to be devoted to re-integrating these persons into majority society. ECRI also stresses the need for efforts to combat the negative attitudes and stereotypes within the majority population that sustain these discriminatory practices.

104. ECRI recommends that resources also be devoted to improving the housing situation of Roma, and particularly to ensure that Roma families who are currently living in substandard conditions are provided with a decent standard of housing and infrastructure. Measures should also aim to assist families to break the cycle of poverty and dependence in which they find themselves. […]

115. ECRI recommends that the Czech authorities urgently step up their efforts to ensure that Roma students who are not mentally disabled are not placed in special schools for the mentally disabled.

116. ECRI recommends that the Czech authorities ensure that the new School Act does not create a new form of separated education for Roma children.

119. ECRI also stresses the importance of awareness raising measures to the general public, local school directors as well as teachers concerning the importance of integration. ECRI also recommends that teachers and school directors receive further anti-discrimination training and training in multicultural education.

120. ECRI encourages the Czech authorities to extend successful initiatives such as preparatory classes and Roma teaching assistants to all areas of the Czech Republic where the need exists. ECRI also encourages the Czech authorities to monitor the manner that these and other initiatives are carried out on the local level.

121. ECRI urges the Czech authorities to take positive steps to ensure that Roma children have equal opportunities to continue on to higher levels of education."

The full text of ECRI’s report on Czech Republic can be found on the Internet at: ECRI Report on Czech Republic.



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