I plan to use this discussion to post what I find about the Roma in print, film, television, art, and music. I encourage you to beign to register what you see, when you see it, and where you saw it.


Found on Amnesty International's webpage on March 19, 2011

 Czech Republic: Police fails to protect the Roma of Nový Bydžov
Amnesty International is dismayed at the failure of the police to protect three members of the Romani community from violent attacks by a group of far-right activists following the demonstration by the far-right Workers’ Social Justice Party on 12 March in Nový Bydžov.

The organization is deeply concerned about the fact that in addition to failures to prevent these attacks, eye witness’s statements substantiate that the police used excessive force against peaceful counter-demonstrators of the Initiative “Nový Bydžov is not alone!” who were opposing the far-right rally.

These incidents add to a climate of intimidation against members of the Romani community in Nový Bydžov, characterized by discriminatory statements by local authorities and some Czech far-right groups during the past few months.

On 12 March, approximately 500 far-right demonstrators marched through the town chanting anti-Roma slogans and wearing insignias and waving symbols of the Workers’ Party, which had been dissolved by the Supreme Administrative Court in February 2010 on the grounds that its “programme leads to incitement to national, racial, ethnic intolerance” and “amounts to an attempt to infringe the basic rights and freedoms of certain groups, in particular the minorities.”

According to media reports approximately 200 counter-demonstrators, including local Roma, gathered in the town and attempted a non-violent blockade to prevent the far-right demonstrators from marching through the Na Šarlejích Street, which is mainly inhabited by Roma. The police anti-conflict units reportedly tried to convince the counter-demonstrators to let the march of the Workers’ Social Justice Party through.

After police called on counter-demonstrators to disperse, and following their refusal to end their blockade, Amnesty International staff present at the scene witnessed mounted police officers charging their horses at the counter-demonstrators and delivering blows against them with nightsticks. Reportedly three counter-demonstrators had to be treated for injuries caused by the horses. In an interview published by Romea.cz on 13 March the Regional Police spokesperson justified the police intervention by stating that the counter-demonstrators “were warned that they were preventing the procession of a properly announced gathering.”

International human rights law to which the Czech Republic is a party requires that Czech authorities respect and protect human rights, including by ensuring that law enforcement officials do not use unnecessary or disproportionate force. The United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials states, in Article 3, that “[l]aw enforcement officials may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty.” Amnesty International considers the intervention against the counter-demonstrators disproportionate and unnecessary, and therefore excessive.

According to media reports, only an hour after the far-right rally was over, a group of 20 far-right demonstrators who stayed behind attacked three Roma people, one of whom suffered a concussion.

Amnesty International is dismayed by the failure of the police deployed in the town during the day to apply due diligence in effectively protecting the Romani inhabitants of Nový Bydžov following the march.

The Czech Republic has an obligation under international human rights law to ensure the security and physical integrity of its inhabitants, without discrimination, and to exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate, punish and provide redress for racially-motivated attacks by non-state actors.

Amnesty International called on the Czech authorities today to publicly condemn discriminatory violence, and incitement to discriminatory violence, against any section of Czech society, to ensure vigorous and thorough investigations into acts of racially motivated violence and to prosecute the perpetrators under laws which provide penalties reflecting the gravity of the abuse.

In relation to reports that an act of ill-treatment and excessive use of force against counter-demonstrators has occurred, Amnesty International called on the Czech authorities to ensure that a prompt, independent, impartial and thorough investigation is conducted, and that anyone reasonably identified as having used arbitrary or abusive force is punished.


Czech Republic: Obligation to protect the Romani community in Nový Bydžov (AI Index: EUR 71/001/2011), available at: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR71/001/2011/en

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Right, but, as long as the Roma themselves are supporting rumors and illegal actions, just by declaring themselves to stand beside the normal law standards, it will be very hard to change opinions.............


Have a look :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDp_lwz_S0M





Without a translation, I can't speak intelligently on this link, but I have to ask if you think this is representative of all Roma? I don't believe so. And if every race didn't demand human rights until every member of that race was in the "right standing"...no one would move forward.





Dear Ciuin,


subject of this report in german television is the story of a 12 year old girl, who fled from her husband to her mother. The mother chained her to her bed and beat her heavily, the girl managed to escape even from her families house, turned to police and was brought to a protective facility, from where she fled again after some two weeks. The other young couple to be seen in this report are 14 respective 16 years old. Their statement,and that of their parents, is, it is good to get married so early, otherwise the girls get out of control and will end up as hores...............

The use to get married when very young, partly younger than 10 years is to be found quite often in Romania also the official minimum age is 16 years to get married, but authorities declare to have no reason to stop this practice,it is traditionel with Roma................


Of corse this is not represantantiv for all Roma, and is not for Romania, despite of this it is not unique, but subject of reports on Roma, and this is what I wanted to point out..........




I am well aware of such practices and even the consequences. I also understand the subject of child brides is being brought up at the Third International Conference of Roma Women in Granada, Spain in October. We are all working for human rights among the Rromani, but due to distance and technology, it isn't an easy task. We need to educate the public that for every report like this, we can give ten reports on Roma who've committed no crimes, gone to school, and got a job, all with hard work and no magic.



You are right and I support your point of view, but, rermember, not all germans are nazis, still the discussion arises if Germany is turning back to 1933 behavior.....................the problem is, everytime small parts of a population taking extreme stands easyly are thought to be represantativ! We should not only work the direction to improve the picture of Roma, we should also work into the Roma comunities and pronounce our disagreement to such practice!



I am in agreement with you, of course. As I said, there is a conference in October discussing the very subject, as well as other topics.





These weeks I had hardly time to add to discussions, because of Strasbourg and more. I tried, however, to follow the events as closely as possible.

The living standard of people, no matter which people, is crucial for their behavior and interests. When I researched on the Balkans for my books, it took only 10 minutes to travel from the 20th into the 19th century, where men and women lived seperately and in huge families. And these were no Roma. The same can be seen in West-Europe, where pour families of labourers lived in houses with only one room or two rooms and without proper toilet, only half a century ago.

The change came with the money. The money enabled people to get education and find better jobs. The core of the problem in many post-communist countries is poverty, extreme poverty, famine, illness. In majority populations, but even worse in minority populations. The worst is that Roma are not offered chances to attend school and find jobs, pay for proper houses, health care and good food.

In these circumstances the only stable factor may be some old traditions, that sometimes even worsen the situation. A poor young mother with three kids and no proper housing is in real trouble. What also happens, is that people completely forget about any traditions at all, even forget the importance of family ties, have conflicts with their parents, betray their sisters...

I witnessed this in Stolipinovo, where I situated one of my books. It is the biggest ghetto in Bulgaria, close to Plovdiv, but it is certainly not the only one. I have seen many more, with people in houses of plastic and paper. Houses worse than a stable, surrounded by rubbish. I found myself surrounded by people who were shouting: we want work, we want work, we want work!!! There was no work, however, because Bulgarian and international (!) companies refused to hire Roma.

This kept the Roma minority in a prison of poverty. The many funds meant for improvement are spent in the Gypsy industry on imitation projects. Or not spent at all, because populist governments don't want to lose votes by spending money on Roma. And the ones who give these funds, do not control. And this is how poor and less poor and even rich stay in the same prison of passivity and status que and abuse of funds. Only the conditions for the non-poor are much better, but nobody is free. We will all end up in clashes, fights and escalations, as we did before hardly 70 years ago.


Instead of thinking about ways to change the ongoing practices, many are focused on images, on prejudice. These mostly false images are preventing us from moving forward, from improving. We should not discuss the fact that there are Roma who steal, but wonder why they do this. We should also wonder why most Roma die 10 years earlier than the majority population. If they would not beg and steal, they might have even still shorter life expectations. During WWII persons in hiding, Roma and Jews, were stealing too. They stole food in order to survive and we all accepted this "illegal" behavior, for there was an emergency situation.

What we do not accept yet today, is that there is an emergency situation again! A pre-war situation. Populists have fuelled the fear. Populists are often assisted, if not supported, by businessmen and politicians who don't want to be blamed for corruption and other crimes. They are the real responsible ones for the scary escalations. The fake faces in the news, the scapegoats, serve their short-term interests, but ruin all long-term interests, ruin the future itself. Europe is running the risk of yet another tragedy.



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