New York - Czech Romani population continues to be subjected to discrimination and intolerance. This is clear from the annual report of the US-based non-governmental organization Amnesty International (AI).
According to AI, the Roma minority still finds itself in an unequal position compared to the rest of society. That is most evident through the poor level of access Romani people have to housing, education and employment.
Police harassment and Čunek's remarks
AI finds that Czech Roma are harassed, threatened with violence and forced to confess to minor offences during police interrogations.
In the chapter of its annual report that discusses the situation in the Czech Republic, AI also recalls the infamous anti-Roma remarks made by Deputy Prime Minister Jiří Čunek.
It cites a report produced by Czech ombudsman Otakar Motejl that claims the eviction of Vsetín's Roma residents, which was carried out when Čunek served as mayor of this Moravian town, was a mistake.
AI's annual report, which analyzes the human rights situation in 150 countries worldwide, criticizes the Czech Republic for not having approved an anti-discrimination law that would improve the situation of minorities.
An anti-discrimination law has been proposed, but was vetoed in May by President Václav Klaus.
Opinion polls, special schools, forced sterilization
AI also mentions public opinion polls that showed that 9 out of 10 Czechs would not want to have a Roma person as a neighbor. It makes references to the European Court of Human Rights' ruling on discriminatory practices in the Czech education system that often place Roma children in special schools, which debilitates them from advancing academically and professionally.
The organization did not forget to mention the problem of forced sterilization of Roma women that was allegedly taking place in the Czech Republic at least until 2004.
CIA flights and International Criminal Court
AI criticized the unwillingness of the Czech Republic to answer its queries about the CIA secret flights scandal. Czech airports are believed to have been used for secret transfers of US detainees.
In addition, AI's reminds that the Czech Republic is the last EU member state that has not ratified a treaty on the International Criminal Court.