Tag Archives: Romas

Czech Republic And Romas Furious At Canada

The Czech Republic government is up in arms at recent decisions by Canada to re-impose visas for citizens from its country who wish to travel to their country. In Canada, the Roma community of Toronto is also angry because it believes re-introduction of visas was aimed at halting further influx of Romas who are fleeing from human rights abuses in the Czech Republic. Paul St. Clair, an activist from the Roma Community Center in Toronto accused Canada of shutting the door on people who are fleeing from terror. Human rights activists note the increase in neo-Nazi groups assaulting Romas in the Czech Republic, and discrimination in areas like education and jobs for those of Roma heritage.

The increase in neo-Nazi groups in eastern Europe has been stimulated by the presence of Romas who are treated like second class citizens in many nations. Romas flee to Canada seeking a new life free from persecution. Perhaps, the solution lies in addressing Czech Republic issues, not those of Canada.

Most Swedish Hate Crimes Are Racist In Nature

A report by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention concludes that over 70% of hate crimes stem from racial or xenophobic motives. About 72% were judged to have racial or xenophobic motives, 18% were related to sexual orientation and 10% dealt with anger toward religious groups. The most common form of hate crimes involve threats and harassment. The Council has noted a significant increase in hate crimes against Afro-Swedes and Roma immigrants. “We have seen in the police reports that these groups are particularly vulnerable.”

The Swedish report matches those emerging from east European areas such as the Czech Republic and Hungary. It is clear as Europe undergoes an historic shift in population that large segments of the populace are upset to witness the emergence of people having different skin color or religion becoming important in the economic sectors of society as well as constituting a future political power group.

Canada Decries Czech Republic Violence Towards Romas

Canada has witnessed a significant growth in the number of Roma immigrants from the Czech Republic and in the course of attempting to uncover reasons for their flight from Europe, it has become clear Romas face persecution and violence in their native country. The Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board sent investigators to Europe to explore the situation of Romas in the Czech Republic. They found at times Romas are not protected by authorities and local police are frequently indifferent to attacks by racists on Romas. They more than often treat Romas as the criminals rather than victims when neo-Fascist groups attack Roma communities.

At a shelter in Toronto, Zaneta Gananova lifted her shirt to show two swastikas that had been carved into her skin by skin head fascists. As they cut into her body, they laughed and said, “Hey Gypsy, today you will die.” She did not, but there are reports of Romas who have been killed. The usual reaction of local police is to promise to “investigate the problem.”

Nearly 1,100 Czech Republic Romas claimed refugee status so far this year. Is anyone in the Czech Republic interested why people flee from your country?

Romas –Convenient Scapegoats In East Europe

A crowd of fans from the soccer club, 1.FC Brno, marched through a square in Brno shouting vulgarities at Romas and blacks while imitating monkeys. In the town of Chomutov, they fired a rocket in the air while shouting, “Czech Land To Czechs.” Even as the ignorant displayed their ignorance, hundreds of Romas throughout the Czech Republic were holding demonstrations to express their frustration at failure of the government to take a pro-active stance in the fight for Roma rights. There were Romas present in at least fourteen towns to make known their concerns at recent murders of their fellow countrymen and the need for action to foster respect for the dignity of all humans.

In Hungary, a recent survey indicated that 84% of respondents said that Roma people disliked working and that is why they encounter economic problems. Nearly 80% said it was hopeless trying to help build good relations between Romas and other Hungarian citizens. And, over seventy percent rejected any ideas about affirmative action programs.

The United States learned years ago that change begins with new laws that protect the rights of those subject to bigotry and prejudice. Eventually, if laws are enforced, most humans will grow accustomed to change in their views. They need to work and live with people who are different.

Romas Victims Of Economic Crisis

Nations experiencing economic downturns seek to uncover answers for what has happened to create large scale unemployment. In the history of Europe, bad times invariably result for seeking a scapegoat and in many areas of eastern Europe the convenient group is the Roma population which already is viewed with disdain and fear by many people. During the past few months in Hungary there have been a series of attacks on Roma families which have resulted in the murder of several individuals. These assaults have ranged from burning homes and then killing Romas attempting to escape the building to killing a man returning from work. Police investigators believe there is a pattern to the murders including the probability that shooter is an expert marksman to the mundane fact that most of the murders happened in buildings which were the last house on the street.

In virtually all cases of these murders, those killed were citizens who were working or family members with no record of having been in trouble with others. The patterns suggests the murderer simply hates Romas and most probably stalks the victims to determine the right moment for death.

Romas Worry About Racist Attacks In Czech Republic

Omas in the Czech Republic are concerned by recent attacks including fire bombing a home which resulted in injuries to children. Members of the Romany communities are considering development of plans for quick escape in case there are other such assaults. There is also a growing feeling that emigration might be the only solution in dealing with the ongoing prejudice against Romas in the Czech Republic. About 570 Czech Romas applied for emigration to Canada in January and February which contrasts with the total of 853 for the entire year of 2008.

There is something sad when hundreds of people who have spent their lives in a nation believe they must leave in order to ensure personal safety. Undoubtedly, they will find homes in Canada and opportunities for their children to obtain a decent education. But, their departure is also a loss for the Czech people because it means something is missing in a society which forces people to flee for their lives.

Czech Republic Exports Romas To Canada!

There are many ways in which a society confronts issues of multiculturalism including creating programs that work to end conflict between groups within society. The Czech Republic has found a new way to deal with issues of prejudice and bigotry–export the problem to another country and let them handle it! Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney called on the Czech Republic government to crack down on the practice of sending dozens of Roma people to Canada on the pretext they are refugees fleeing from abuse. In 2007, Canada did not receive a single example of a Czech Republic person seeking refugee status but in 2008 there were 853 complaints from people claiming to be fleeing from alleged persecution in the Czech Republic democracy. These refugees now place seventh in the world of those seeking a refugee status in Canada.

Canada has agreed to maintain its visa exemption for people from the Czech Republic but they also want action taken on the flood of false claims for refugee status. Is there any possibility that Romas are being encouraged to flee the Czech Republic by those who want to get rid of them?

Hungarian Police Bungle Roma Murders

Hungarian police are being condemned by human rights groups for their bungling efforts in dealing with the death of a Roma man and his son who supposedly died in a house fire. Viktoria Mohacal repeated her charges there had been deliberate incompetence and bungling of the investigation of the deaths of the father and son. The initial investigation by police concluded the father and son had died in a house fire despite eye witness accounts of gunfire and the presence of petrol bombs and spent shotgun cartridges lying in the snow. Two forensic experts from a local university said the medical examiner report apparently was not a professional document.

The bottom line is that for too many people killing Romas is not really a crime and the perpetrators should escape punishment. There is need for a massive education program focusing on issues of multiculturalism which deals with the lives of Romas in Hungary.

Anti Roma Feeling Rises In Czech Republic

The Roma minority in east Europe invariably is the object of hate attacks because they are viewed as “different” and inferior. A Czech Republic political party, the right wing Workers’ Party, will soon be banned for its vicious brutality towards Romas. The Workers’ Party has witnessed a growth in membership from 9,000 in 2004 to 29,000 in 2008. Human rights activists are concerned as the economic crisis deepens, people will seek a scapegoat and the most convenient are Romas. There are already signs some political leaders are shifting toward an anti-Roma stance in order to obtain votes.

The decision to ban a political party raises many questions regarding the nature of a democracy. A true democracy distinguishes between actions of a political party and those of an individual. If a member of the Workers’ Party uses force against a Roma there are laws which provide for his criminal prosecution. There is no need to make right wing neo-Nazis pose as being oppressed by society. Trust in the power of the judiciary to handle violence against Romas. Of course, this means the police have to investigate and prosecution to resut.

Racial Tension In Czech Republic As Neo-Nazis Riot

It was the 19th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution which freed people from control of the communists and it should have been a day in which people gathered to celebrate the joys of freedom. However, 600 right wing extremists confronted 1,000 police in the town of Litvinov where they had come to protest what they termed the inability of local authorities to handle its Roma population. The black-clad bullies and thugs who apparently desired to emulate their Nazi heroes, clashed with the police in their attempt to break through a barrier which separated them from the Roma population of the city. By the end of the day, seven police officers and seven of demonstrators were injured.

If not for the police there would have been serious injuries on both sides since the Romas were determined to fight back. The sad aspect of the story is the continued inability of a democratic society to recognize they can not establish democracy as long as some members of the community are treated like second class citizens.