Friday, May 6, 2011



Three Roma families repeatedly attacked in Slovakia over Easter

Gemerská Poloma, Slovakia, 2.5.2011 13:18, (ROMEA)
The village of Gemerská Poloma in the Rožňava district of Slovakia experienced three days of terror against Roma families during the Easter weekend. The families were attacked in their homes by a group of youths whom the victims say were "skinheads". Local activist Stanislav Kučerák reported the incident to the Roma Press Agency (Romská tisková agentura - RPA).

Kučerák said there are about three youths living in the village who are sympathizers of the neo-Nazi movement and that they called on other men from around the district to come to the village. Approximately 40 - 50 men gathered there and attacked the Roma families directly in their homes, destroying everything they could get their hands on, from dishes to furniture to windows, even tearing doors off their hinges. They also beat some of the Roma residents. Small children witnessed all of the violence committed against their families.

The Roma who were assaulted sought help from Mr Kučerák. He called the police and insisted that a patrol arrive as quickly as possible because of the threat not only to health and property, but to the lives of the citizens concerned. Mr Kučerák said two police officers arrived on the scene within five minutes.

"The officers raised their voices to me and asked me questions like, 'Who are you? You seem like a real smart guy...' They were unpleasant to me and did their best to show me that I am nobody. They told the Roma people who had been attacked that they would not guarantee their protection and that the best thing for them to do would be to call a taxi and flee to their relatives. They stayed on the scene for about 20 minutes, taking photos and writing something up. Then they commented that some other body was going to have to handle it anyway and said the Roma families hadn't even had a gate up in front of their homes so that the area in front of the houses was basically free space," explained Kučerák.

Kučerák went on to say that the mayor of Gemerská Poloma's only comment was that the Roma had not been attacked without cause. He recommended them to lock their doors.

"The mayor is said to have reached an agreement with the three people responsible from the village. He wanted to prevent, by all available means, this information from reaching the public through the media," Kučerák said.

Kučerák says the attacks on the Roma families in Gemerská Poloma took place late Friday night and in the early morning hours of Saturday and again late Saturday and in the early morning hours of Sunday during the Easter holiday. He also said a similar attack took place last year in the village. The Roma Press Agency asked the Regional Police in Košice for a statement and will publish it once they receive it.

Roma Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert


ENAR: Time to say a loud NO to neo-Nazis in the Czech Republic!

Brussels/Prague, 30.4.2011 22:17, (ROMEA)

The European Network against Racism (ENAR) and ENAR Czech Republic are very disturbed by the rise in neo-Nazi demonstrations and events in recent months in the Czech Republic. In advance of the upcoming neo-Nazi demonstration planned for 1 May 2011 in Brno, ENAR is calling on the City of Brno and the Czech Government to take a firm position on right-wing extremism and this blatant incitement to hatred.

Monika Bunžová, second Vice-Chair of ENAR Czech Republic, says: "We are very disturbed by rising right-wing extremism in the Czech Republic. Unfortunately, this is reflection of current societal developments related to the government cuts in the area of social expenditures, which most affect citizens who are already deprived and poor. This incurs dissatisfaction and frustration in society and leads to an increase in sympathy for right-wing extremism and populist ideas for addressing complex social problems. The neo-Nazis point the finger at easy targets like Roma people and the members of other minorities, blaming them for all the problems in our society. When faced with these dangerous, ubiquitous ideas it is very important that all citizens speak up and say a clear NO to neo-Nazi rhetoric.”

The right to assembly is a fundamental human right which should not be denied even when it is used to support ideas with which some might disagree. However, we must point out the fact that the aim of these demonstrations is to incite hatred and to intensify the use of negative stereotypes against people of various ethnicities and other minorities.

ENAR and ENAR Czech Republic are very concerned that local and national institutions usually do not take any action to open, unequivocally condemn these demonstrations. By failing to act, they send the wrong signal, which is that the ideas the neo-Nazis support are acceptable, despite the reality that they in fact represent an enormous threat to the cohesion and endurance of our society. On the contrary, during neo-Nazi marches in many towns there have been reports of evidence of covert support for such marches on the part of representatives of those towns.

ENAR Czech Republic calls on municipalities in the Czech Republic to take a responsible approach to neo-Nazi marches similar to that taken in other European towns. On 1 May, another such march will take place in Brno which has billed itself as "against the invasion of foreign workers and the exodus of our people - work only for Bohemians and Moravians."

In the name of the right to peacefully but strongly express our personal disagreement with hatred and intolerance, ENAR Czech Republic calls on citizens and representatives of nonprofit organizations both from the Czech Republic and from neighboring states to join us and express support through all available means for the rejection of neo-Nazi marches through Czech towns. Extreme-right events are becoming more and more visible, which leads to a greater number of racially motivated crimes against minorities (especially against Roma people) not only in the Czech Republic, but also elsewhere in Europe, such as in Hungary. Extreme-right groups also have a supranational dimension and are doing their best to connect right-wing extremists from various EU Member States.

Information about ENAR: The European Network against Racism (ENAR) is a network of European NGOs fighting against racism in all the EU Member States and represents more than 700 NGOs from the entire EU. The creation of the network was the primary result of 1997 as the European Year of the Fight against Racism. ENAR's aim is to fight against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and xenophobia and to promote the equal treatment of EU citizens and those from third countries. The members of ENAR in the Czech Republic are the following organizations: Czech Helsinki Committee, IQ Roma servis, Romodrom, Life Together (Vzájemné soužití), Český západ, Slovo 21, Zvůle§práva, the Association for Integration and Migration (Sdružení pro integraci a migraci).

Press release of European Network against Racism, translated by Gwendolyn Albert


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