Tolerance Panel Discussion on 

"Protection of Minorities in Europe" 

May 9, 2000

Public Panel Discussion
9th May, 2000
PRAGUE TOWN HALL

1. AIMS AND RATIONALE

The public panel discussion was organised by Globea - Transborder Initiative for Tolerance and Human Rights, in cooperation with Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence Charles University, Information Centre of the European Union in Prague, Council for National Minorities at the Czech Government Office, SPUSA Education Centre, Multicultural Centre in Prague, Europeum Civic Centre, and others.

The aim of the discussion was to raise public awareness in the field of minorities protection, to provide space for exchange of experience and good practice and to support cooperation among NGO´s, public administration and academics.

2. DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT AND PROGRAM

The panel was held within the European day in Prague. Working languages were Czech and English with simultaneous translation.
Globea volunteers distributed to participants information about The Framework Convention on Protection of National Minorities, as well as materials from OSCE, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, UN, Council of Europe, several Czech and international NGOs and some of the papers /if the speakers provided them in advance/.
The following panellists discussed issues connected with minorities in Europe and in the Czech Republic.

PROGRAM:

I. MINORITIES IN EUROPE

  • Otto Kechner, Vice-Mayor of Prague
    Topic: A way for Prague and for national minorities
  • Ramiro Cibrián, European Union Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Head of the Delegation of European Commission in the Czech Republic
    Topic: Respect of human rights and protection of minorities in the context of enlargement of the EU
  • Ronald Halpin, Ambassador of Canada
    Topic: Difference: problems or challenge?
  • Bernd Baumgartl, Austrian Diplomatic Academy
    Topic: Minorities, xenophobia and identities in Europe
  • Dalibor Jílek, Member of the Advisory Committee for the Framework Convention on National Minorities Protection in Europe, Masaryk University Brno
    Topic: International instruments for human rights protection. Framework Convention
  • Andrej Sulitka, Secretariat of Council for Nationalities of the Czech Government
    Topic: Implementation of Framework Convention in the Czech Republic
  • Míťa Castle-Kaněrová, International Organization for Migration
    Topic: Roma in Europe
  • Marek Hrubec, Philosophical Institute of Academy of Science in the Czech Republic
    Topic: Theoretical outlines for multicultural policies
  • Hans Korbel, President of Assembly of Germans in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia
    Topic: Status of German minority in the Czech Republic

Click here for detailed information on Contributions.

Moderator: Tomáš Pojar, People in Need Foundation at the Czech Television

COFFEE BREAK, VIDEO PROJECTION (ROMA ROAD, U.K., 2000)

II. ROMA IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC

  • Roman Krištof, Executive Vice-Chairman of the Government Commission for Romani Affairs
    Topic: The Czech Government conception on integration of Roma
  • Viktor Sekyt, Secretary of the Government Comission for Romani Affairs
    Topic: Government conception on integration of Roma
  • Jana Hejkrlíková, Romani Advisor at the Pribram District Authority, Commission for Romani Affairs
    Topic: Czech educational policy and its influence on Romani children
  • Ondřej Giňa, Chairman of the Association of Roma Regional Initiatives
    Topic: Regional approaches for solving Czech-Romani relations
  • Karel Holomek, Chairman of the Roma Community in Moravia
    Topic: Creation of Romani representation in the Czech Republic
  • Hana Orgoníková, Petition and Organisational Committee of the Parliament (Sub-Committee for the Application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights a d Freedoms)
    Topic: Romani employment and compensatory activities. Project "Chance"
  • Petra Tomášková, Czech Helsinki Committee
    Topic: The role of non-governmental organisations and legislative protection of Roma population in the Czech Republic
  • Markus Pape, European Roma Rights Centre
    Topic: Activities of ERRC in the Czech Republic

Moderator: Jana Šmídová, Radio Free Europe - Czech Radio

3. MEDIA COVERAGE

The aim to raise public awareness on issues concerning protection of minorities, as well as the aim to promote a positive image of Roma in media was met first at the press conference held on 5th May, 2000 which preceded the discussion panel. The press conference was covered by the Czech Television TV Prima, several radio stations, and the Czech Press Agency. The panel discussion was subsequently covered by several radio stations (Cesky rozhlas Radiozurnal, Regina Praha, Radio Free Europe).

4. RESULTS AND FOLLOW UP:

The discussion panel succeeded in receiving great attention especially from general public, however, also representatives from embassies as well as and many academics involved in minority issues manifested their interest in the discussion. The total number of participants exceeded 200 people (166 registered participants, plus students, plus speakers).

Note: During the panel discussion, participants had a chance to support the Globea resolution, which aims to contribute to implementing concrete policies and practices relevant to education of Romani children in the Czech Republic, as well as more generally, to contribute to positive changes in education of minorities worldwide. The final draft of resolution was sent to such recipients as the UN, OSCE, the Czech Prime Minister, and the Czech Minister of Education.

 

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