Romanies who feel threatened should seek help at home - Minister

by Michael Smith

Yoy! Yoy! Yoy! What can one say to that?

The Romanies, from the Roma communities and other Gypsy groups, who seek asylum in Canada should not conceal their real, particularly financial reasons of their departure from the Czech republic, by alleged persecution, Human Rights and Minorities Minister Dzamila Stehlikova has said.

While the fact that a number of the Gypsies fleeing from the Czech Republic wish to also improve themselves economically and one or two may be simply economic migrants the majority, in the same way as those that fled from Macedonia some years ago into Germany or those from Kosovo. However, the same is used there with regards to sending them back to the countries whence they are being persecuted.

The Minister should be ashamed of herself but then again, I assume she would not know what being ashamed even means, in the same way as Minister Cunek and others in the former Czechoslovakia, as well as in many other EU member states. Italy here comes to mind especially too.

Minister Dzamila Stehlikova said after a meeting of the Government Council for Romany Community Affairs that the Romanies who feel threatened in the Czech Republic should first look for help of state bodies, the council and NGOs.

Seeing the way the Czech police and other authorities in that country persecute the Romanies themselves and certainly from the way that attacks are never properly prosecuted and followed up and the perpetrators never have to fear any real retribution – at least not from the side of the state – I certainly doubt that going to the state for help would do the Rom of the Czech Republic no good at all. Their only option is to leave the country as refugees.

Czech Roma's interest in acquiring asylum in Canada has markedly increased over the past months.

Obviously this reflects very badly on the image of the Czech Republic as far as human rights are concerned in the eyes of the world and hence the Minister has to come up with stupid comments such as the ones that she has made.

Stehlikova said 466 of them applied for asylum in Canada from last November until mid-July.
Canada might reintroduce visas for Czech citizens if the border of 500 applications were crossed, Stehlikova said, adding she is not afraid of this for the time being, however.

Canada re-introduced visas for Czech citizens in 1997 after it lifted them for a short period, in reaction to a high number of asylum seekers from the Czech Republic, primarily Roma.

In the 1996-2000 period, 1677 people with Czech citizenship applied for asylum in Canada and 962 of them were granted it.

The government council wants to prevent further outflow of Roma by supplying them with information on their rights and defence opportunities in case they feel threatened by the majority population or by clerks and the police.

Stehlikova will visit Canada in October where she wants to meet Romani asylum applicants as well as Canadian officials.

One can only assume that she has a hidden agenda for meeting the refugees themselves. I assume we all remember well the times when British police and border agents were based at Czech airports, working hand-in-glove with the Czech authorities, to prevent Romanies from the Czech Republic travel abroad, especially to the United Kingdom.

Oh, but the European Union is good for the Rom, so we are being told. Good? In what respect?

She said she also wants to invite the officials to the Czech Republic to see for themselves that Czech Romanies do not need to fear for their lives.

Macedonia and others did the same with regards to the Roma from those countries with the German government and even the German Protestant Church, the Evangelische Kirche, worked hand-in-glove then with the German authorities, primarily in the Rhineland, to “repatriate” the refugees back to Skopie and such places. One can but assume that the Minister here has the same ideas in mind as far as the Rom currently in Canada are concerned.

© M Smith (Veshengro), September 2008