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Z§vůle práva: Unsuccessful asylum seekers have somewhere to turn
29-07-2009 - Press release

The NGO Z§vůle práva is responding to the introduction of visa obligations for Czech citizens by offering legal aid to those who have not been granted asylum in Canada. Czech citizens of Roma nationality who are concerned they might be discriminated against in the Czech Republic or that they might become the victims of serious crimes can contact the program “Ma den pes!” (“Don’t Give Up!”), where lawyers will counsel them for free as to how to proceed and where to turn to protect their rights.

The “Ma den pes!” contact center provides counseling for a full range of illegal discriminatory behavior and in the most serious cases facilitates comprehensive legal representation for clients. By the end of 2009 the center will publish general materials for various state institutions on methodology for monitoring discrimination, which should contribute to creating legal security and an atmosphere of trust between ethnic Roma citizens and state institutions.

Commenting on the exodus to Canada, Z§vůle práva founders Edita Stejskalová and Kateřina Hrubá said: “The trust of ethnic Roma citizens in the state and its institutions is very low today. The sense that their basic security is guaranteed is often missing. Ethnic Roma citizens who are now returning from Canada will face serious problems in resettling, as some of them truly bet everything on that one opportunity. The advice of qualified lawyers can be of significant assistance in this situation.”

When asked whether Roma are currently encountering complications when applying for visas and whether Canada is proceeding correctly, Stejskalová and Hrubá said: “Through the experience of our clients we can definitely confirm the hypothesis that the Canadian authorities do not treat all Czech citizens the same.”

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