British Prime Minister Tony Blair calls upon the Prague government to resolve the mass exodus of Romanies|
Radio Prague, September 23rd - British Prime Minister Tony Blair called on his Czech counterpart Milos
Zeman on Wednesday to introduce measures which would deal with the migration
of Romanies to Britain.
Although the Czech Government has indicated in the past, that Romanies are
leaving for Britain because of economic reasons, it declared its intentions
on Wednesday through a spokesman to do all it can to alleviate the
situation. There has been much controversy in the media recently over the
number of Romanies who have arrived in Britain seeking asylum on grounds
that they feel racially threatened in the Czech Republic.
Deputy Premier Pavel Rychetsky told ministers and reporters on Wednesday
that one way of resolving the problem could be the project to build a
village in Ostrava, where Czechs and Romanies could live together without
any tension. He added that he intends to indicate to parliament that the
erection of the infamous Maticni Street wall, in the town of Usti nad Labem
could be interpreted as a lack of desire to resolve problematic Czech-Romany
relations. The wall is intended to separate two neighbouring communities,
one Romany, the other Czech.
This comes after United Nations Special Envoy for human rights Maurice
Glele- Ahanhanzo spent Wednesday holding talks in Prague with the deputy
Ministers of the Interior and Justice, Jaroslav Kopriva and Alois Cihlar.
Top of the agenda was the issue of steps the Czech government is taking to
combat the threat of racism in the Czech Republic.
Speaking later to Czech Radio, Mr Kopriva said the discussion had centred on
answering questions asked by the visiting United Nations official. According
to the deputy Interior Minister, Romanies who feel they are being
discriminated against may contact a government commission to lodge a
complaint. As far as equal opportunities are concerned, he added that the
state is aiming to employ a greater number of Romanies in the police force.
The Deputy Justice Minister said that his talks focused on the Czech legal
system and its provision for people who are victims of racism. He explained
to Maurice Glele-Ahanhanzo that while there is no single Czech law on
racism, there is an enactment containing laws which deal with racially
motivated crimes. The conclusions of Maurice Glele-Ahanhanzo's visit to the
Czech Republic will be published in a report on the country's relationship
with its ethnic Romany community.