CZECH REPUBLIC : Impunity Of Racially Motivated Attacks And Police Violence Still Prevails

18/11/2002
Report

Document presented by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
and the League of Human Rights in the Czech Republic (LLP)
Prepared by the League of Human Rights in the Czech Republic (LLP)

The present report focuses on elucidating the systemic roots of the serious human rights abuses against
the Roma minority in the Czech Republic, the sufferers of which unfortunately continue to seek asylum in
several EU countries. One of the main causes of this problem is, according to our observations, insufficient
protection of the Roma in cases of serious racially motivated attacks, the slow investigation of such attacks, and
the lack of follow-through on the part of the authorities, just as in specific cases of police violence against the
Roma, for which see PART I. PART II briefly reports on the slow-moving problems with ratification of the
Rome Statute to the International Criminal Court in the Czech Republic.

1. Introduction

The most recent Association Council conclusions (of 20 November 2001) state in part 2:
“With regard to the Copenhagen political criteria, the Association Council welcomed the efforts of the Czech
Government to improve the situation of the Roma minority by implementing the Government’s Roma strategy,
and stressed the importance of continuing these efforts.“
The League supports the conclusions of the EU-Czech Association Council on the implementation of
the government’s strategy; however, we would like to present our serious concerns about such implementation
without the corresponding implementation of certain systemic changes. These concerns are documented in
alarming cases (from June and July of this year) in which our lawyers have begun to provide free legal aid. As
far as the League is informed, the Czech government is doing its best to support programs helping to integrate
the Roma into society and also working on projects to improve their social situation. When comparing their
situation to that of other countries in Central and Eastern Europe, it is also necessary to remark that Roma in the
Czech Republic enjoy one of the highest levels of social standards in the region.

Nevertheless, there is a basic problem in the fact that the state organs have ineffectively protected and
continue to ineffectively protect the Roma in several brutal cases where their physical integrity was threatened.
This is particularly true in cases of racially motivated attacks and police violence against the Roma. When Roma
are threatened with death or serious injury under the jurisdiction of the state organs of the Czech Republic,
generous social support allowances do them no good. It is therefore no wonder that, despite the security offered
in the Roma community by what are usually its strong family ties and social roots, many Roma continue to seek
a safer country where they could live without the daily fear of attack.

Besides writing up general stategies and a legislative framework, the Czech government should also
endeavor to improve the situation by supporting the successful investigation and resolution of concrete, serious
cases of violence, especially those where no one has been sentenced for serious attacks against Roma and
neither a punishment nor a appropriate amount of compensation to the victims or their bereaved has been
enforced. Unfortunately, the practice of several state organs (in particular the Police) differs greatly in some
serious cases from that required by law and international standards.

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