Prague, January 2006
The Czech Republic is expected to have regularly the latest data on the employment of Romanies, their qualification, incomes, housing conditions, debts and education as of 2008 due to the new monitoring system that will be discussed by the government on Wednesday.
Thanks to the precise information, the state, regions and municipalities will be able to better help Romanies to be adapted to society and could considerably and quickly improve their living conditions.
In the latest population census, 11,000 Czechs declared themselves Romanies, but according to estimates some one quarter of million of Romanies live in the Czech Republic.
Information on the number of Romany pupils and students or unemployed Romanies is also lacking since the institutions do not keep any statistics on the ethnic lines.
Studies and inspections in the past showed that many subsidies and financial programmes aimed at helping Romanies brought no results precisely due to insufficient knowledge of their environment and needs.
The information on "Romany census" provoked the wave of disagreement among representatives of some Romanies organisations in the past. They pointed out that such counts in the past only harmed Romanies and led to discrimination.
"The goal of the monitoring system is not the collection of personal data on individual Romanies, but the collection of anonymous information on the situation of Romany communities," members of the government's council for Romany issues who prepared the system said.
The government annually earmarks millions of crowns to finance the projects designed to help Romanies, but the situation in Romany communities is not changing much.
Although the situation is improving in the area of Romany education and Romany cultural activities their housing conditions are worsening and unemployment among Romanies is growing, according to the government council.
According to Romany organisations, more than 90 percent of Romanies are without jobs in some regions. Their families are still dependent on welfare benefits and their debts are growing and they often are moved to special flats without any facilities. New ghettoes for the poor are appearing on the outskirts of towns and villages, non-profit organisations warn.
Apart from the data collected during the latest census, information from institutions, regions and municipalities as well as finding of a sociological analysis that are to be known in June will serve as the basis for the monitoring. The analysis that is designed to study the living conditions in Romany communities is co-financed from the European Social Fund. It will be followed by a research that will concentrate on Romany education, school attendance, birth rate, migration, wages, unemployment and its length and the age of jobless people. Business and shadow business activities of Romanies, their housing conditions, the equipment of their households and debts are also to be monitored. As of 2008, 1.5 million crowns will be annually spent on the regular assessment of the results of this research.