Annual Report: Czech Republic 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Czech Republic 2010

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  • On 4 April far-right groups organized a march through the Romani district in the town of P?erov. The Workers' Party, which initially announced the march, later distanced itself from the event. About 500 demonstrators, chanting anti-Roma slogans and joined by local inhabitants, marched through the town and the Romani neighbourhood. Around 700 police officers prevented direct attacks on Roma, but violence later broke out as demonstrators attacked riot and mounted police.
  • On 18 April in the village of Vítkov, Molotov cocktails were thrown into the home of a Romani family, where Pavel Kudrik lived with his partner, four daughters and two other family members. The fire completely destroyed their home and seriously injured the parents. Their two-year-old daughter, Natálka, had burns over 80 per cent of her body, was in an induced coma for three months and in hospital for over seven months. In August the police arrested 12 suspects: four were charged in connection with the attack; eight were released without charge. The police said the suspects were supporters of far-right groups. According to Czech Television, they were supporters of the Autonomous Nationalists, an organization allegedly linked to the Workers' Party.
  • In October the police arrested eight suspects accused of attacks on Roma in Haví?ov in November 2008. The case was before the Regional Court in Ostrava at the end of 2009.

Education

Two years after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Czech Republic had discriminated against Romani children by placing them in special schools, Romani children continued to be segregated. They were still over-represented in elementary schools and classes for pupils with "mild mental disabilities" or in segregated mainstream schools and classes. This was despite the Schools Act in force since 2005, which abolished the category of "special schools" for pupils with mild mental disabilities. Such classes and schools often provided inferior education.

The Czech NGO People in Need reported in February that the education system tended to exclude pupils with special educational needs. An analysis of the segregation of children from disadvantaged backgrounds, commissioned by the Ministry of Education and published in April, found that almost half of Romani pupils in elementary schools either failed their grade or were transferred to special schools.

  • In April the Prague City Court rejected a complaint by Jaroslav Suchý against the Ministry of Education that he had suffered discrimination and been denied the right to education. Jaroslav Suchý said that he had been placed in a special school because of his membership of the Romani community. The Court ruled that he had not proved his case and that the placement had been justified by a psychological assessment.
  • In May Valašské Mezi?í?í Town Council announced a plan to create special classes for Roma and non-Roma in the first grade of the local mainstream school. The proposal was presented as an attempt to address the special education needs of Romani pupils. After criticism from the Minister for Human Rights and the Ministry of Education, the Council eventually withdrew the plan.

Housing

Roma continued to experience segregation in housing. In its September report, ECRI recorded no positive developments in tackling this issue and highlighted the government's failure to hold to account local authorities that do not fulfil housing rights.