A few years ago, Petr Cina assumed the role of fighting for the rights of Roma citizens in the Czech Republic by walking into a ar and asking for service. After being ordered from the premises, he went on the offense by entering similar establishments in order to document discrimination against Romas. Although a few bars wound up getting fined, nothing much changed in the nature of discrimination against Romas. According to kumar Vishwanathan, of the Life Together organization, “people who are refused entry into pubs based on their race often have difficulty seeking justice. The term ‘discrimination’ is not clearly defined in Czech law.”
The European Union insists each nation have a law dealing with discrimination and when such a law passed the Czech Republic parliament, it was vetoed by President Klaus who claimed the bill was “counterproductive.” The lack of a unified definition of dscrimination creates a legal dilemma for many Romas who are excluded from certain schols or unable to obtain decent housing accomodations. The problem is particularly accute when a Roma applies for a job and is confronted with an interview conducted by a single individual who can simply claim the job-seeker was not qualified.
Discrimination in the Czech Republic may not be more unusual than in other European nations, but in the absence of clear legislation it is difficult to prove.