Open Letter
To the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic

Globea - Transborder Initiative for Tolerance and Human Rights
Kettnerova 2052 / 20; 155 00 Prague 5; Czech Republic
Phone/fax: +420-2-6514442; e-mail: 
ICO: 70101019

To the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
Mr. Miloš Zeman
Nábř. Eduarda Beneše 4
118 01 Praha 1

Prague, 9th May 2000

Dear Sir,

We would like to ask you to support hitherto efforts of many civic initiatives, academics and professionals aiming to eliminate discrimination of Roma children in education, as well as follow-up discrimination of Roma in all other spheres of public life.

Discrimination of Roma in the Czech Republic has become subject of criticism by many foreign, intergovernmental, but also local organisations, for example the OSCE, UN (CERD), Council of Europe, European Commission against racism and intolerance, Human Rights Watch, European Roma Rights Center, Amnesty International, Movement for Civic Solidarity and Tolerance (HOST), Center for Documentation of Human Rights and others. In April 2000 parents of Roma children from Ostrava lodged a complaint on the Czech Republic at the European Human Rights Court at Strasbourg.

Although, the Government of the Czech Republic adopted many measures for remedy, unfortunatelly, the situation in the area of education is still unsatisfactory.

Therefore, we request, that the Czech government adopts without delay profound and systemic changes in the approach towards Roma and that it reflects relevance/seriousness of the current situation by appealing to responsible institutions and officers, especially at the Ministry of Education, and by supporting positive trends, which has already appeared. We would like to ask you to initiate such changes in the Czech educational system, which would end up discrimination of Roma children and other children from specific socio-cultural background.

In the attached resolution we are sending you requirements, which were formulated by the participants of the international seminar Tolerance, Respect and Human Rights 2000. We think that the absence of multicultural programs, as well as the current system of special and mainstream schooling are causes of educational and social marginalisation of Roma. Experience show that integration of children is the prerequisite of integration of adults. Therefore, we are asking you to support implementation of these requirements as they represent necessary basis for prevention of interethnic tension in the Czech Republic.

We are sending the resolution also to the Human Rights High Comissioner of the UN Mrs. Mary Robinson, to OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Mr. Max van der Stoel, the Secretariat of Council of Europe, and to ODIHR OSCE.

Should you need any further information, please, do not hesitate to contact us.

Yours Sincerely,

PhDr Laura Laubeová (on behalf of the executive committee of Globea)
Míťa Castle-Kaněrová (on behalf of the advisory committee of Globea)
Jana Hejkrlíková (on behalf of the participants of the seminar Tolerance, Respect and Human Rights 2000)

Minister of Education Mr. Eduard Zeman
Czech Republic Government Commissioner for Human Rights Mr. Petr Uhl


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