Roma News April 2021
Czech lower house has approved moratorium on collections agents confiscating property in people's homes due to COVID-19
On 1st April Romea.cz/en reported that despite the fact that the state of emergency in the Czech Republic had been ongoing and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš had been seeking an extension of the law authorizing the state of emergency from Parliament, it had not been until 24 March that the Chamber of Deputies had re-approved a previous moratorium on collections agents' confiscations of movable items according to the law on ameliorating the impacts of the novel coronavirus called Lex Covid Justice II, which was in effect from November 2020 to 31 January 2021. It was further noted that Czech MP Lukáš Kolářík (Pirates) had warned that since February, when the ban on confiscating movable assets had been lifted, persons in debt who are under collections proceedings had seen their property confiscated and sold.
It was also reported that, “Kolářík also mentioned that collections proceedings have been revived to sell real estate at auction, including properties where debtors have their compulsory permanent residence registered. Such collections of movable items are usually undertaken by collections agents' executors who first take an inventory of specific items, resgistering them and physically labelling them.” It was said that the items were then confiscated and sold at public auction and the profits of the sale then used to satisfy creditors' claims.
Czech 2021 Census: Video instructions for the online form available until 9 April, answers to basic questions
It was reported on 2nd April by Romea.cz/en that the census took place once every 10 years in the Czech Republic and news server Romea.cz presented an overview of the answers to 10 basic questions that it was hoped would aid people with orienting yourselves in the census right now, including a tutorial of video instructions (in Czech) for how to easily complete the online census form.
Terezín Initiative to no longer read the names of Romani victims of racial persecution during the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia as part of the commemorative reading of names of the dead on Yom Hashoah.
The PFRD declaration which had been made available to Romea.cz stated that "the suffering of Roma and Sinti during the Second World War is, in the Czech Republic, still quite neglected and insufficiently commemorated. For that reason, we appreciate all the more the fact that since 2010, at the instigation of the Union of Jewish Youth and in collaboration with the Foundation for Holocaust Victims, and after reaching agreement with representatives of the Romani community, the Institute of the Terezín Initiative decided to include the names of Holocaust victims of Romani origin among those being read. “
Czech clergyman proposes the readers themselves choose the names of Holocaust victims to be read on Yom Hashoah this year, whether Jewish or Romani
It was noted by Mikuláš Vymětal, writing on romea.cz/en on 6th April that 4th April had been Easter Sunday for western Christians, as well as the eighth day of Passover, on which we remember the very sad anniversary of the biggest pogrom ever to take place in Prague in 1389, when a mob had murdered three-quarters of the inhabitants of the Jewish ghetto. It was further noted that this history meant that on the very same day, here and now, some people in the Czech Republic were celebrating joyously while others were commemorating a tragedy.
Mikuláš Vymětal went on to say that he thought that this was a good illustration of the complexity and intricacy of different groups coexisting and that a similar situation would transpire again here on 8 April.
Mikuláš Vymětal went on to say that, “for Romani people, this will be an important anniversary, the 50th anniversary of the International Romani Union and the World Roma Congress where representatives from many countries agreed that they want to be referred to as Roma (and rejected the term Cikán/Gypsy), agreed on what the Romani flag should look, and agreed that the international Romani anthem should be Gejľem, gejľem, some of the lyrics of which reflect the Holocaust of the Roma.”
Czech bodybuilder's fine upheld for approving of Romani man's murder, he says he will appeal again
On 7th April, it was noted that the Ústecký Regional Court in the Czech Republic had rejected the appeal of a first-instance verdict against the famous bodybuilder, MMA fighter and YouTuber Filip Grznár and had confirmed that he must pay a CZK 15 000 [EUR 580] fine. To put the story into context, it was also noted that three years ago, Grznár had produced a video in which he had approved of the murder of a Romani man on a housing estate in Chomutov and had threatened to kill people himself.
Further context was provided when it was noted that in May 2017, housing estate resident Petr Benda, who was not Romani, shot dead a Romani man who had been driving a van, defending his actions by claiming that he had intended to save people on the street, himself included, because the driver had been aiming the van into other people and other vehicles and had been driving right at him. Benda's version of events, it was noted, had been disproven in court and he is now serving a 10-year prison sentence.
Overview of the online commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the Romani movement
It was also noted on 7th April that the celebrations of 8 April were being held online this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and that concerts and discussions were being held online to mark 50 years since the first World Roma Congress in 1971.
Romea.cz/en also noted that the Czech Philharmonic would be performing a gala concert with Romani musician Ida Kelarová, while the Museum of Romani Culture was marking its own 30th anniversary and that the day had been celebrated since 1990.
It was stated that the first international meeting of Romani representatives had been held on 8 April 1971 near London and that the first World Roma Congress had laid the foundations for establishing the International Romani Union.
It was also reported that, “participants from 14 countries, including the former Czechoslovakia, adopted the Romani anthem and flag, as well as the official designation of themselves with the term "Roma". Below is a summary of the events planned for the 50th anniversary.”
EU Commissioners on 8 April: Europe has a long way to go to achieve real equality for Romani people
RRomea.cz/en reported on 8th April. International Romani Day, that Romani people continued to face prejudice, discrimination, antigypsyism and socioeconomic exclusion in their daily lives. It was also noted that according to a joint statement on the occasion of International Romani Day by the European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency Vĕra Jourová, the Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli and the Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi, it is necessary to do everything possible for Romani people to experience an actual change to that situation.
The Commissioners declared:
"On the occasion of International Romani Day we are celebrating, together with Europe's largest ethnic minority, their unique contribution to European diversity and heritage. At the same time we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first World Roma Congress," the commissioners said in their joint statement.
"Many Romani people still face prejudice, discrimination, antigypsyism and socioeconomic exclusion in their daily lives, however. The Romani community, moreover, has been harshly affected by the global pandemic. We must do everything in our power to address the current crisis and everything else that has impacted them so Romani people can experience actual change".
It was also stated that according to the officials, the European Commission had adopted its ambitious EU Roma Strategic Framework for that purpose - a new, 10-year plan for achieving equality of Romani people within the European Union and beyond it. The framework contains a comprehensive list of measures to combat antigypsyism and discrimination, to support equality and social inclusion, to involve Romani people in the life of society and to arrange for their equal access to quality, standard education, employment, health care and housing throughout Europe.
"On the basis of this Strategic Framework, the EU Member States have unanimously adopted the Recommendation on Roma equality, inclusion and participation. A strong, clear signal has therefore been sent that the Member States are determined to address the many challenges that the Romani community faces EU-wide. With regard to countries beyond the EU, that document is playing a crucial role in the accession negotiations with states in the Western Balkans" added Jourová, Dalli and Várhelyi.
Czech Govt Human Rights Commissioner on 8 April: Roma are still stereotyped here - let's get to know what we have in common and where we differ
Romea.cz/en also reported on 8th April that Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner Helena Válková, on the occasion of International Romani Day, had said that the stereotypical view of Romani people had lasted too long in Czech society and it is time to finally change it. It was noted that she had expressed appreciation for the fact that despite the pandemic, there would be concerts and discussions taking place online and on television that would communicate not just the rich cultural heritage of Romani tradition, but insight into the present.
Válková was a lso quoted as saying that she was also glad that the number of Romani people attending higher education is growing. "International Romani Day, which celebrates the culture and history of Europe's largest minority, is being commemorated for a second time during these difficult days that have so strongly impacted all of our lives. I am quite pleased that even in this complicated situation there will be concerts and discussions, online and on television, that will communicate not just the rich cultural traditions of Romani people, but will also introduce contemporary figures from many different areas," she said.
"I am pleased that the Museum of Romani Culture, on the occasion of International Romani Day, is launching the second series of its cultural and historical podcasts. I am glad that interest in Romani literature is growing. I am glad the number of Romani college students, both men and women, is growing. I am glad that the civil society members of the Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs are contributing to a great degree in designing the strategic materials that are meant to improve the situation of the Romani minority in our country," she said.
"I am mentioning all of this exactly because a stereotypical view of Romani people has prevailed in our society for too long and it is high time we finally changed that. We have been living together in this territory for centuries. Let's take an interest in each other, let's acknowledge what we have in common and where we differ. We will find out that we have more in common than we thought".
50th anniversary of the international movement of Romani people celebrated worldwide
Again on 8th April, it was noted by Romea.cz/en that on that day, Thursday 8 April 2021, Romani people worldwide were celebrating International Romani Day and that this was the 50th anniversary of the historic, important, first-ever World Roma Congress held in Orpington near London in 1971 in the United Kingdom.
It was further stated that that Congress had laid the foundations for the international collaboration of Romani people and that their movement had attained its international, sociopolitical dimension as a result so that now Romani people annually commemorate their common culture, language and origin, their shared collaborations and unity, and above all their Romipen ("Romani-ness").
It was also noted that just like last year, celebrations and commemorations of this important day were being held online and that the first historic congress had been held thanks to the initiative of Slobodan Berberski, Ján Cibula, Juan de Dios Ramirez Heredia, Grattan Puxon, and Vanko Rouda.
Zeljko Jovanovic: The New Roma Politics of Self-Determination and Unity
Romea.cz/en reported Zeljko Jovanovic as saying that in the midst of the Cold War, Roma leaders had gathered in London in 1971 to proclaim self-determination and transnational unity among the Roma. It was a lso noted that at the first World Roma Congress, they agreed on symbols of unity: the blue-and-green flag with a red wheel under which we all stand with pride and sing “Gelem Gelem,” our anthem in Romanes, our language and that these symbols had unified Roma people and their cause of self-determination for 50 years. They represented a political gift that his generation had inherited from the previous one.
Jovanovic asked, “What political legacy will my generation leave behind for the next? In short, we should reinforce the transnational movement with the strongholds in our communities, continue building the Roma nation and unify Roma leadership around new moral foundations..,,”
Czech actors send greetings to Romani people for 8 April, World Roma Day
It was reported on 8th April that the well-known Czech actors Halka Třešňáková and Václav Neužil were sending their greetings for World Roma Day to all Romani people in a message sent through Romano voďi [Romani Soul] magazine in Prague. Třešňáková was noted as being a choreographer and film and theatre actor who had previously publicly joined the 8 April celebrations in the Czech Republic by performing in a video with David Ištok and the ARA ART organization.
It was asked what her memories of that were today? "For me it was natural to accept their offer. Relations with Romani people here are actually quite important to me. I sometimes feel like a Romani woman myself. My father spent his childhood in the Karlín neighborhood of Prague on Pernerova Street, and when he lost both his parents, the Roma there practically raised him. They taught him, among other things, how to play guitar," ssh said. It was also noted that her father is the guitarist and musician Vlastimil Třešňák].
Czech activist on 8 April: the Romani position in society is deteriorating, zero results from the financing invested
On 8th April Miroslav Brož, wrote on Romea.cz/en that the day was International Romani Day and that Romani people and the Romani world were close to him, as he had grown up among Roma and as an adult he was helping the poorest of the poor and fighting for their rights.
Miroslav asked: “Is there anything to celebrate this year?
Naturally it is necessary to show the brilliantly rich culture of the Roma to the gadje [non-Roma]. However, there are not many reasons to celebrate.
The position of Romani people in our society is bad, unfortunately it is not improving - exactly the opposite. Tens of thousands of Romani people are living in conditions of social exclusion and in impoverished ghettos, the numbers of which increase each year as their poverty intensifies.”
Misorslav also noted that Romani men and women faced discrimination in all areas of life, while Romani children attended segregated, substandard schools that did not give them any hope of a better future.
It was also stated that antigypsyism and anti-Romani prejudices are the mainstream position of this society but that this was not just about discrimination, poverty, racism and segregation.
He went on to note that, “the integration of Romani people is determined by gadje "experts" on integrating Romani people who work in different agencies and advisory groups and know Romani people just from the books written by other gadje. Naturally those measures then fail, they cannot function, they will not introduce change, integration does not succeed, but the big non-profit corporations have budgets in the millions of crowns, acquire real estate, and raise their own salaries”.
Czech ecumenical service sends wishes of good fortune and good health to Romani people on their day
It was reported on 8th April by Romea.cz/en that members of the Ecumenical Council of Churches in the Czech Republic, its Commission for the Roma and their friends, including the preachers and priests Ondřej Kováč, Zdeno Žiga, Žaneta Černochová, Pavel Pokorný, Mikuláš Vymětal, Zdeněk Břeň, the Rabbi David Maxa, and Romani activists Josef Miker, Daniela Cincibusová and Růžena Ďorďová had prepared a celebratory ecumenical service on the occasion of World Romani Day. It was also noted that given the current measures in place to combat the pandemic, this service could not have been held in an in-person form this year, and therefore the organizers had moved it to the virtual space. "My wish for you, in the words of your beautiful national anthem, is that you will walk along lucky roads and that you and your loved ones will be healthy," Rabbi David Maxa was reported as wishing to Romani people during the service.
"Haters Will Not Stop Us!" ROMEA launches campaign to support Romani scholarship programme
It was noted on 8th April that on the occasion of World Roma Day, the ROMEA organization had launched a new fundraising campaign to support its Romani scholarship programme called "Haters Will Not Stop Us!" It was reported that the campaign uses humour to respond to the hateful commentaries about Romani students that appear on social media in the Czech Republic.
It was sted by Romea.cz/en that the fundraising campaign would last from 8 April until 31 August 2021. "We have done our best, in a joking form, to respond to the hateful commentaries that are frequently posted to social media about us. We want to show people that Romani youth are studying and want to get an education. Even though this hate speech is often an unpleasant part of the daily life of these youth, they are not losing their energy or their motivation to achieve something," said Veronika Hlaváčová, the coordinator of the ROMEA organization's Romani scholarship programme.
Chair of the Czech Pirates: Let's not trip the Roma up, let's treat them with the dignity they deserve, as equals
Ivan Bartos, the chair of the Czech Pirates Party made the following statement on 8th April to mark International Romani Day:
"Romani people's efforts will succeed as long as we don't trip them up and treat them with the dignity they deserve as equal partners in the discussion," said the chair of the Pirate Party in the Czech Republic, Ivan Bartoš, on the occasion of World Roma Day today. In his statement, the chair recalled that many Romani people experience discrimination on a daily basis.
"Today is the 50th anniversary of the global commemoration of International Romani Day. I am grateful to my many brilliant Romani friends and to the active people who are helping make our country a better place to live, irrespective of the fact that many of them have experienced and are experiencing discrimination, whether in education or other areas of life. How many times have we heard or witnessed the fact that Romani children have been automatically recommended to attend the 'special', segregated schools? How many times have we seen offers of housing or jobs that Romani people automatically had no chance of accessing - and still do not - purely because of their origin?" asked Bartoš, who had put a frame with a Romani flag on his Facebook profile that day.
"Life unfortunately is showing us that emancipation and the drive for dignity and equality never comes from the majority, but that the minority has to conquer it on their own, through long-term effort. We see that this is possible in everyday life. For example, in Ostrava, segregated schools have managed to be all but shut down thanks to the fantastic assistants from the Romani community who helped inform Romani families of the fact that all Romani children are already entitled to attend regular schools. Where there's a will, there's a way."
Czech Foreign Minister on World Roma Day: Fighting for equality is an integral part of Czech foreign policy
On 8th April, Romea.cz/en reported that Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD), speaking on the occasion of World Roma Day today, had said that fighting for equality is an integral part of Czech foreign policy. "Today is the day of Romani culture, history and language, but also a reminder of the never-ending fight for equality irrespective of race, sex, religion or political convictions. These values are also an integral part of Czech foreign policy."
MEP Peter Pollák on World Roma Day: Mere declarations of willingness to solve problems not enough, it's time for results
On 8th April, Romea.cz/en reported that fifty years ago today, Romani people had managed to join forces at the first World Roma Congress in 1971.
Slovak MEP Peter Pollák, who had been appearing at several international forums and congresses on 8th April said: "Our forebears have given us national symbols - the flag, the anthem - and the Romani language. I am proud that a Romani man from Slovakia, Ján Cibuľa, was among them," #
Below is a transcription of one of the speeches Romea.cz/en reported Pollák as making that day.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to take part in this important event to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Romani Congress. Romani people wanted to contribute to greater equality, inclusion and participation already half a century ago. Unfortunately, we have to admit that (also because of the Roma themselves) we have not been able to unite or to formulate our common demands that would be supported by Roma in Germany, Serbia, Romania, Slovakia or anywhere else.
Yes, it is true that many of the events that have taken place during the last 50 years were not entirely in our hands. Therefore, it is necessary to learn from past mistakes and falls, as well as from the successes, and to continue on the path started by the initiators 50 years ago. I am proud that Ján Cibuľa, a Slovak Rom, was one of them.
To have ambition is no longer enough. Today we have the strategies, programs and projects. However, the situation has not improved much. Despite the millions allocated, the living conditions in poor Romani communities are still indecent. A huge number of children are without education. Their parents are without work. Many Roma live in conditions that resemble those on the African continent. At a time when a developed Europe wants to be a leader in automation or digitalization, our children, on that very same continent, get their drinking water from open streams.
The education systems in several countries are unable to prepare Roma children for the labor market. They represent untapped potential for the whole world. It is a luxury that, at a time of labor shortage, it has not been possible to integrate unemployed Roma into the labor market.
COVID-19 has revealed huge failures on the side of the EU Member States in managing the EU's financial resources. The rise of extremism and tension over the last 10 years is also due to a lack of political will and to the fact that money has not reached those who need it the most.
Today we know that without the involvement of Roma themselves in all these processes, including the design of policies and programmes and decision-making, all efforts will fail.
Dear friends, ambition is indeed not enough! No matter what part of the world we come from, we have to look more for what unites us than what divides us.
Fifty years ago, at the World Roma Congress, people from each corner of the globe were able to reach agreement. Today the same is expected from us. The world expects that we will be able to formulate our demands today so that our children, too, will have a future, so that Roma have no problem getting jobs, so that people in the least-developed regions will live in dignity, and so that antigypsysim will no longer be part of our lives.
We all must call on the institutions that are investing into projects in poor Romani communities and tell them it is not enough just to declare a willingness to solve problems, but that it is high time to show tangible results in specific areas. Institutions have to set up measurable targets that can be evaluated regularly. The institutions involved with Romani issues must see us as equal partners, not just participants in projects.
Today there are already a number of educated, experienced, well-prepared Romani youth among us who know what our communities need. We do not want to just be assistants in these projects. We have to be the ones who set up, design and manage and monitor these programmes. We must ask institutions and national governments for results, not phrases and empty promises. We need to set clear, measurable targets - for example, that within a specific period of time, 95 % of Romani localities will have access to water and sewerage systems, or that within five years we will retrain and then employ half of the unemployed Roma. We need to be able to evaluate progress. The phrases they are offering us are not enough.
The situation of the Romani population is serious in many Member States. Urgent action is needed.
Dear friends, as I have already mentioned, 50 years ago Roma from all over the world reached agreement together. We should be grateful to them, they gave us national pride in our symbols such as our flag, our anthem, and our language. Let us follow in their footsteps so that, 50 years from now, they will be proud of us, so they will be able to say we gave our children an education, their parents jobs, the Roma their dignity, and that we silenced the voices of those spreading evil, hate and antigypsyism.
Alexander Soros: We celebrate the identity, self-determination and unity of Roma, Open Society Foundations will always support them
On 9th April Romea.cz/en reported that the Vice-President of the Open Society Foundations, Alexander Soros, had tweeted greetings the previous day to Romani men and women on International Roma Day. "Opre Roma! Happy #InternationalRomaDay on this, the anniversary of the first World Romani Congress in 1971. This is a day to celebrate the identity, self-determination and unity of Roma wherever they live."
"Being able to openly declare and not to have to hide one’s identity is a measure of how open and free our societies are—and this is something ever more important for Roma, Europe's largest and most excluded minority," Soros continued.
"Over the last 30 years, my father George Soros and our Open Society Foundations have built on the legacy of the first World Romani Congress through our support for Roma and Roma institutions. This includes educational support and the establishment of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture."
"And most importantly, through our support for Roma advocates and organizations to take on the challenges of today, and be prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. We at Open Society will never abandon our solidarity and support for the continued struggle of the Roma people," he concluded.
US administration greets Roma on 8 April, Romani flag up at the US Embassy in Prague
On 9th April, Romea.cz/en reported that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Chargé d´affaires at the Embassy of the United States of America in Prague, Jennifer Bachus, had sent greetings to Romani men and women on 8 April. "Today we are celebrating the rich heritage of the Romani community and recalling the suffering and discrimination against them that continues to persist. On International Roma Day we are asking all governments to uphold their international commitments and obligations in the field of human rights," the Secretary of State had said.
"We are proud to celebrate Roma cultural heritage, Roma language, and the efforts of the Romani people to become empowered and equal members of society in the Czech Republic and across the world," said the Chargé d´affaires of the US Embassy to the Czech Republic in a video message which had been disseminated through social media. "As a symbol of our support, we will fly the Romani flag in front of the embassy."
Igor Kmeťo, Jr., Monika Bagárová, Jan Bendig and others release new song for International Roma Day
On 9th April, Romea.cz/en reported that on the occasion of International Roma Day this year, many well-known Romani musicians in the Czech Republic, led by Igor Kmeťo, Jr., had decided to record a song called "Aven Romale". Other artists featured on the track were reported, for example, Monika Bagárová, Jan Bendig and the rapper Kelso, who is best known from the "Czechia-Slovakia Has Talent" (Česko Slovensko má talent) reality tv show and competition.
European Court of Human Rights finds Slovakia failed to properly investigate police brutality against Romani children
It was report3ed by Romea.cz/en on 12th April that the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg, France (ECtHR) had handed down a decision in a case of police using force against three Romani minors in a police vehicle while transporting them to a police station in 2009 in Košice, Slovakia. According to the court, the responsible authorities had not investigated the allegations sufficiently and thereby had violated their international law obligations in the human rights area.
It was also reported that the incident in question had preceded further use of force by police against those same children and three other Romani boys at the Košice-Jih police station. "I am glad my son and the other boys have finally seen justice after so many years," the father of one of the injured parties was reported as saying in response to the judgment.
It was also noted that in March 2009, one of the Romani boys had been arrested by members of the police force and, while being transported in a police vehicle, one officer had used his hand to strike the boy in the face and demand the names and addresses of the other boys suspected of committing illegal activity with him. After two other alleged accomplices had been arrested, it was said that the officer was said to have struck all three boys in the face during their transport to the police station.
EU Fundamental Rights Agency and OSCE say governments must deliver aid to Roma affected by COVID-19 pandemic
On 14th April Romea.cz/en reported that all societies continued to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the challenges of the present were especially urgent for Romani people, according to a statement released by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE-ODIHR) issued on the occasion of International Romani Day the previous week. It was also noted that from education to employment, poverty to poor living conditions, Romani people had long been Europe's most marginalized group.
According to Romea.cz.en, surveys conducted by FRA had repeatedly found that Romani people were experiencing the effects of extensive discrimination against them, antigypsyism and social exclusion. The director of FRA, Michael O’Flaherty was reported as saying that "COVID and its related restrictions have summoned a perfect storm of exclusion that has swept through Romani communities across Europe. Even before the pandemic, Romani people were living on the outskirts of society, and now they are facing even greater deprivation and discrimination. Our governments must put Romani people at the forefront of interest in plans for the return of a 'new' normal”. It was also noted that the many years of disparities between majority societies and Romani people had placed many Roma into an even more vulnerable position during the pandemic, and prejudices against them had further increased.
David Tišer tells Romani actor he has given Czech society a product full of stereotypes - and no explanation why
I was reported on 14th April that the director of the ARA ART organization, David Tišer, had written an open letter to the Romani singer Jan (Honza) Bendig who, along with his manager Lukáš Rejmon, was facing criticism for his role in the television series "Ďábelské cikánky" ("Devilish Gypsy Women"). It was said that according to critics, the series was degrading to the Romani community and contained low, vulgar humour.
It was noted that in response, Bendig had decline an invitation to discuss the show on-camera and, in a statement on social media, had attacked Romani organizations and, indirectly, the ARA ART organization, which had convened the celebrations of International Romani Day this year during which a discussion had been held that opened up the critique of the series
Petr Horváth, founder of the band Gipsy Sendy, has passed away at the age of 45 in Slovakia
On 15th Aoril Romea.cz/en had reported that on Saturday, 10 April, the musician Petr Horváth, founder of the band Gipsy Sendy, had suddenly passed away according to Karel Svoboda, a family member, who had announced the news to Romea.cz.
It was noted that Mr Horváth was 45 years old. Karel Svobida had said to Romea.cz that, "this exceptional, great musician, who was known all over the former Czechoslovakia, entertained us all with a broad range of music and songs. From the Csárdás, to love songs and sad ones. The first album was so successful that at the time his compositions had to be played at all the Romani parties, weddings, baptisms and other social events," Mr Svoboda was also reported as saying.
Czech court orders director of housing corporation to apologize to Romani community member for abusive remarks
It was reported by Romea.cz/en on 16th April that the previous day the District Court in Most, Czech Republic had brought to an end the scandal of the abusive and insulting remarks made by the director of the Krušnohor company, František Ryba, about Romani community member Iveta Theuserová of Most. It was noted that Ryba had been interviewed by a Czech weekly magazine in the runup to local elections as part of their investigative reporting mapping the activities of the housing corporation that he manages and its controversial involvement during the local campaign with a party whose materials referred to some residents as "riff-raff", and he had been quoted by the magazine as saying the following about Theuserová: "That lying cikánka? Do you mean the cikánka with the IQ of bubbling mud?"
It was further reported that Theuserová had been insulted by the remarks and had filed a lawsuit against Ryba for protection of her good name. It was said that the court had now ruled completely in her favour and ordered Ryba to publish an apology in that same weekly.
Slovak public broadcasting continuing children's television programme in Romanes and Slovak
Romea.cz/en reported on 17th April that "Tumenca khere - S vámi doma" (At Home with You) was the name of a new television programme, the first series of which was broadcast by the Košice-based station of public broadcaster Radio and Television Slovakia (RTVS) last year. It was said to be especially intended for Romani children as well as others.
It was further reported that the programme was specific in that it uses both the Romanes and Slovak languages. It was noted that the public broadcaster would be continuing the programme this year with a second season of 12 episodes.
Subject matter starting with the letters "A" through "K" would be broadcast every Thursday on RTVS channel 2 (Dvojce). Michal Sivák, who performs in the program, was reported as posting to his blog as follows: "This programme is the only one with such a format in the world. People abroad envy us for how we have taken up the educational process through television during the pandemic".
Czech court reopens case against accused neo-Nazis that has lasted more than a decade
It was reported by Romea.cz/en on 20th April that on 15 April the District Court for Prague 1 had returned to the protracted case of eight people charged with promoting neo-Nazism by supporting the "National Resistance" (Národní odpor - NO) group. It was also noted that three of the accused had appeared in court and all pled "not guilty" once more. It was said that the prosecution had originally been halted by the court for having dragged on so long, a decision that had then been upheld by the Regional Court in Prague, but both of those rulings had then been overturned on appeal by the Supreme Court in March of 2020.
Michaela Dupová, Patrik Vondrák, Richard Lang, Milan Hroch, Martin Václavek, Daniel Zavadil, Petr Fryč and Filip Vávra were reported as having been accused of promoting and supporting a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms and face up to eight years in prison if convicted. It was noted that the lower courts had been dealing with the case since 2010, and the Supreme Court decision to overturn the halting of the prosecution had said it was necessary to reflect the disproportionate length of the proceedings in the verdict, should the accused be convicted.
It was reported that the indictment described four crimes including, for example, posting the neo-Nazi NO's promotional materials on 4 December 2008 in the centre of Prague, as well as organizing and then holding an assembly and march on 6 June 2009 in Jihlava. A municipal official was said to have immediately ended that event once it began.
It was reported that the Jihlava event had been announced as a commemorative march to honour the memories of victims of the Second World War. Its actual purpose, however, had been to honour the memories of fallen Wehrmacht soldiers and members of the SS, according to the case file.
Radek Banga's new book alleges he was abused as a child, his twin brother remembers things differently
On 21st April Romea.cz/en reported that a new book released by the celebrity musician and Romani community member Radek Banga called (Ne)pošli to dál, which translates as "(Don't) Pass It On", was sparking a public reaction in the Czech Republic. It was said that in the book he described his childhood and the conditions he remembers having to live in with his siblings.
The celebrity was said to be taking aim at members of his own community, but his brother, the journalist Patrik Banga, was reported to be pushing back on Radek Banga's description of their childhood.
Jaroslav Miko: Radek Banga's remarks about the Romani community in the Czech Republic are untrue, especially his "guesstimates"
On 21st April, in Romea.cz/en. Jaroslav Miko made a number of remarks about Radek Banga’s remarks about the Romani community, including the following: “In my view, Radek Banga has just wasted a chance to do something positive to improve the position of Romani people in the Czech Republic. Last but not least, it has to be said that Radek's own brother, Mr Patrik Banga, has publicly questioned what Radek has written in his book about the relationships in their family and their family friends.
Certainly it is necessary to call things by their real names - that is the only way to improve things - and there is a need to be critical of our own, but that decidedly does not mean and cannot mean we should say things that are not true, throw numbers around without any basis in fact, and affirm the Czech public's entrenched prejudices and stereotypes about the Roma. If there are problems - and there certainly are - then not only must they be named, but we must also speak about their causes, because without understanding the causes, any judgment made of the situation will be a biased one.”
Czech lower house adopts changes to law on collections, but not all proposals succeeded
On 22nd April, Romea.cz/en reported that o’n 16 April 2021 the Chamber of Deputies in the Czech Republic had approved an amendment to the law on collections proceedings. It was said that if the amendment was passed by the Senate, then apparently collections proceedings that did not yield results would not be allowed to continue indefinitely.
It was further noted that the confiscation of movable property during collections proceedings had also been partially restricted by the adopted amendment. However, the attempt to require collections agents to operate just within their own region had once again been rejected by the lower house.
It was reported that the Czech Senate would now be assessing the model for collections proceedings that the amendment would create if it became law. It was said that some clubs in the lower house, both of governing coalition parties and opposition ones, had not been satisfied with the end result of the changes adopted.
Two brothers of Radek Banga object to his remarks about Roma in Czech media interview and his portrayal of their family in his book
It was reported bt Romea.cz/en on 23rd April that Romani social media users in the Czech Republic were continuing to sharply criticize the recent remarks made by the singer and Romani community member Radek Banga, who had spoken about Romani parents exploiting their children and using them merely as income sources while promoting his book and new CD. It was noted that two of his brothers, Gyulla Banga and Patrik Banga, had now responded to his remarks on a live social media broadcast.
It was further reported that Patrik Banga had talked to news server Romea.cz about why the brothers have decided to broadcast their own statement on social media:"For the last three days we have been deciding whether to comment on Radek's activities at all, even though he has depicted our family in his book as a band of brawlers and drunks. After what he said in the DVTV interview, we have heard and seen many reactions, videos, commentaries and absolutely absurd theories about our parents institutionalizing Radek or throwing our sister out, etc.,"
"Many people have not hesitated to coarsely insult our mother, who unfortunately is no longer able to defend herself, and others have not hesitated to write to us with the worst abuse and threats. We considered it correct to explain things, to correct the record, and to clear the name of our family, all of whom have been very affected by this situation," Patrik Banga was reported as saying and it was noted that he had also pointed out in the video broadcast that Radek had managed to do something that nobody else had since the Velvet Revolution of 1989: "He has united all the Roma."
Radek Banga refuses interview for ROMEA TV, objects to articles published by news server Romea.cz and to hateful attacks against him on Czech social media
It was reported by Romea.cz.en on 23rd April that Romani author and musician Radek Banga had cancelled a previously-scheduled interview for the Romani online television channel ROMEA.TV. Additionally, it was noted that according to an agreement with Romani journalist Richard Samko, the interview had been originally meant to be broadcast live on Thursday, 29 April.
Banga was reported as saying that he disliked the articles that news server Romea.cz had published about covering his recent remarks about the Romani community . It bwas noted that he had referred both the news server and ROMEA TV to his official statement posted to Facebook, where he had apologized in part for what he had said during the DVTV interview.
Annual commemoration of the Holocaust of the Roma at Lety u Písku, Czech Republic, is postponed due to the pandemic
On 26th April, Romea.cz/en reported Čeněk Růžička, chair of the Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust in the Czech Republic, telling news server Romea.cz on 21 April" that, “because of the ongoing viral pandemic, the commemorative ceremony that we annually convene on 13 May at the site of the burial ground of the victims of the concentration camp for Romani people near Lety u Písku is being postponed until a more appropriate time from the standpoint of the Government measures". It was also noted that during the communist regime in the 1970s, the former location of the camp had been partially built over by an industrial pig farm.
It was further reported that the Czech state had bought the farm in 2018 from the AGPI company for CZK 450 million [EUR 17.4 million], which had had 13 000 pigs there at the time. It was said that the camp at Lety, according to historians, had been used to imprison 1 308 Romani children, men and women between August 1942 and May 1943, 327 of whom died there and more than 500 of whom ended up at the Auschwitz death camp.
It was further noted that the administrator of the memorials to the Romani victims of the Holocaust at the sites of both Protectorate-era concentration camps for Romani people in the Czech Republic, the Museum of Romani Culture, planned to demolish the buildings of the defunct farm at Lety this year and, together with the relatives of the victims of the camp, to finalize the design for the form of the reverential arrangements at the site of the former camp and that in the year 2023 the former site of the camp would be opened to the public.
Charlie Chaplin's granddaughters making documentary film about his Romani heritage
Romea.cz/en reported on 26th April that in their documentary film called "Charlie Chaplin. A man oif the world”, the sisters Carmen and Dolores Chaplin were investigating their grandfather's Romani origin. It was also reported that some of the first clips from the film had been presented by them at the BCN Film Fest underway in Barcelona the previous week.
It was noted that this was the first time the Chaplin family had contributed to such a degree on a film about Charlie Chaplin, both as authors and producers. They were reported as saying that the documentary "radically reinterprets Chaplin's work from a Romani perspective and, through that lens, investigates the persecution of the Roma."
It was noted that he documentary focused on the Romani roots of film legend Charlie Chaplin, the circumstances of his birth and his childhood period, and how his Romipen affected his art. It was also said that the film offered a new, unique view of Chaplin's life and films, as well as celebrating Romani culture.
Czech court gives suspended sentence to attacker who threatened to kill Romani women and their children with an axe
It was reported by Romea.cz/en on 27th April that the District Court for Prague 5 had handed down a verdict on 21 April in the case of a woman who had attacked her female Romani neighbours with racist insults, retrieved an axe from her apartment, and had used it to threaten the women and their two children, telling them she would chop them to bits. It was also noted that fortunately the woman had not made good on her threats.
It was further reported that the first-instance verdict had yet to take effect and that the In IUSTITIA NGO had reported that the perpetrator had been convicted of making dangerous threats with a weapon and had been sentenced to five months in prison, suspended for 18 months.
Czech Museum of Romani Culture collaborates on first-ever posters for primary schools about Romani art, history, language, literature and music
Romea.cz/en reported on 28th April that the art, history, literature and music of the Romani people were all subjects that were not part of regular instruction in the Czech schools and that the company "Cesta do školy" ("The Way to School"), in collaboration with the Museum of Romani Culture in Brno, had now created posters that were intended to familiarize primary school pupils with these aspects of Romani culture.
It was further noted that the set of six posters, intended for use in the schools, focuses on Romani art, history, language, literature and music and that the content had been developed by experts for children and youth in upper primary school (through ninth grade).
It was further reported that Lubomíra Oláhová of the Cesta do školy company had told ROMEA TV in an interview that, "pupils are able to learn about Romani history from the content of these six posters, from the beginning of the Romani peregrination until the 19th century, and then about the history of Romani people between 1918 and 1945, i.e., also about the Holocaust and its Romani victims. There is also information about the Romanes language, Romani music in our country and around the world, fine art produced by Romani people and literature written by Romani authors".
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel to be awarded the European Civil Rights Prize of the Sinti and Roma online at 14:30 TODAY”
On 28th April, Romea.cz/en reported that the European Civil Rights Prize of the Sinti and Roma would be awarded by the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma this year to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, together with the Manfred Lautenschläger Foundation. It was noted that a speech would be given on this occasion by Andrej Kiska, the former President of Slovakia who won the award in 2019.
News server Romea.cz also told us that they had been informed of the award by Marius Lüdicke of the Central Council of Sinti and Roma and that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony would be held online only and ROMEA TV will be livestreaming it at 14:30.
It was also reported that Merkel was being given the award because, after taking office for the first time in 2005, she had constantly advocated for more awareness of minority rights and, on various occasions, had commemorated the Holocaust against the Sinti and Roma in Europe during the Second World War. Romani Rose, the chair of the Central Council of Roma and Sinti was reported as saying that, "the German Chancellor has taken up Germany's historical responsibility, especially against the background of the Nazi crimes during the Holocaust against the European Sinti and Roma, and has based her political steps on that responsibility".
"Her policies have strengthened and brought to life the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities, ratified in 1997, which is an important instrument of protection and support for Sinti and Roma as indigenous minorities," Rose was also reported as saying, adding that Merkel was greatly appreciated by many members of minority groups as a symbol of a democratic, open Europe. It was noted that the European Civil Rights Prize of the Sinti and Roma is awarded by the Central Council of Sinti and Roma in Germany in appreciation of individuals and institutions that speak up in favour of protecting the civil rights of the Sinti and Roma.
Czech footballer appeals UEFA ban, insists he never said anything racist
It was reported on 29th April by Romea.cz/en that the international scandal around Ondřej Kúdela, a centre-back for the Slavia Prague football team, was not over yet, as the player had decided to appeal the 10-match ban that had been handed down against him by the UEFA disciplinary commission for insulting a competitor with racism during the European League's last-16. It was said that Kúdela would ask for an oral hearing before the UEFA appeals commission.
It was noted that the law office of Urban & Hejduk in the Czech Republic, which is representing Kúdela, had informed the Czech News Agency (ČTK) of the appeal on 23 April. Kúdela had been punished for an incident that occurred in the 87th minute of the match in Glasgow, Scotland on 18 March.