Prague’s High Court has sentenced defendants Tomáš Kopecký and Michal
Poláček to six years and nine months in prison for a racially-motivated
attack against Romanies in 2012. The duo targetted a boarding house in Aš
in the west of the country, throwing Molotov cocktails into two apartments.
The attack was qualified as attempted murder. There were 18 people in the
building at the time – eight of them children.
The 18th Khamoro World Roma Festival, showcasing Roma musicians from all
over the world, opened with an open-air oncert at the embankment in Prague
centre at the weekend. The event runs through June 4. Apart from concerts,
the festival programme offers a number of accompanying events, including
expert seminars on current topics.
Minister for human rights and equal opportunities, Jiří Dienstbier, and
Justice Minister Robert Pelikán on Friday attended a commemorative
ceremony for the victims of the Romany Holocaust at the site of a former
concentration camp in Lety in South Bohemia. More than 1,300 Romanies were
held prisoners in the camp between 1942 and 1943. Over 300 of them died
there while others were transported to Nazi extermination camps.
Friday, April 8, is International Romani Day, celebrating Roma culture and
raising awareness about Roma issues. This week, organisers behind the Sobě
blíž (Closer Together) project for high school children – brought
interested kids to Lety, South Bohemia, to see performances by Roma groups,
but also to learn about a dark chapter in Czech history. Lety was the site
of a Romany internment camp in WWII where more than 300 people died and
many more were sent to the death camp Auschwitz.
The number of hate crimes registered in the Czech Republic increased to 86
in 2014, the legal organisation In Iustitia, which is helping the crime
victims, has reported. In 2011 the organisation registered 57 incidents.
Most of the attacks happened in relation to nationality, ethnic origin or
religion. Among the most frequent victims of hate attacks were Roma and
The human rights organisation Amnesty International has highlighted the
poor treatment of refugees in the Czech Republic and the high number of
Romany children in "practical" schools (former special schools)
in its annual report on the state of human rights around the world. The
document refers to anti-migration rallies held in the country last year and
the Czech Republic’s rejection of compulsory quotas of refugees imposed
by the European Union. On the positive side, the report praises legal
changes aimed at the integration of Romany children into mainstream schools
and a court decision to recognise adoption by a male couple..
A dentist has been ordered to apologise in writing to Roma family and pay
them CZK 30,000 in compensation for refusing to treat them because of their
skin colour, the news website Lidovky.cz reported on Sunday. Members of the
family had set up an appointment with the Brno dentist by telephone but
when they arrived at her surgery she refused to register them and denied
having agreed to treat two of them, who had acute problems with their
teeth. She had repeatedly denied discrimination before admitting to it in
court, Lidovky.cz said..
One of the most thought-provoking documentaries to hit local cinema screens
in recent months has been Czechs Against Czechs by Tomáš Kratochvíl. In
the highly personal film, the young director – a member of the majority
population – goes to live in a desperately poor Romany ghetto in north
Bohemia. Along the way, he also encounters far-right activists who organise
anti-Roma demonstrations, as well as members of the public who don’t hide
their hatred of the ethnic minority.