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The Czech Republic issue of Anti-Gypsyism
03-04-2007

According to the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005 - 2015 Declaration signed in Sofia on 2nd February 2005, the Czech Government has publicly committed itself to working "toward eliminating discrimination and closing the unacceptable gaps between the Roma and the rest of society".

Deputy Prime Minister and Regional Development Minister of the Czech Republic Jiri Cunek has repeatedly made statements that openly contradict the above- mentioned Government commitment.

The fact that the Deputy Prime Minister has repeatedly and deliberately insulted the Romani national minority in the Czech Republic is unacceptable; moreover, the situation is being aggravated due to extensive media coverage over the past six months which has had a generally negative impact on public opinion and increased hostility between the Roma and the rest of Czech society. In his most recent statement in the daily Blesk on 30th April 2007, when asked how one could become entitled to similar state support as that provided the Roma, Cunek said: "You would need to go somewhere to get a suntan, your family would need to start making a mess and lighting fires on the square, and then maybe some politicians would help you [...]".

Jiri Cunek Romani organizations in the Czech Republic involved in the "Decade" perceive Cunek's interpretation of the solutions to important problems faced by the Roma community as an example of ongoing clerical-fascism in the Czech Republic. A statement about the social unacceptability of the current situation in the Czech Republic was formulated by 16 Romani NGOs and publically released on 30th March 2007. In response, political parties including the governing Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and the opposition Social Democrats publicly criticized Cunek's statements. However, Cunek still remains the Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Party and a Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of the Czech Republic.

We are asking the international community to support the statement by the Czech Romani NGOs, to publicly denounce Cunek´s statements, and to demand his resignation from Government.

Please send a support email to romea@romea.cz or sign below.

I support Czech Romani NGOs demanding the resignation of Jiri Cunek from his posts as Deputy Prime Minister and Regional Development Minister of the Czech Republic.



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