Hindus ask Czech Republic not to treat Roma kids as children with disabilities

Hindus want immediate end to reported practice of treating Roma (Gypsy) children as children with mild disabilities in Czech Republic.

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks, in a report based on findings of his visit to Czech Republic and published on his website dated February 21, said: “Segregation of Roma children in education remains a serious human rights concern in the Czech Republic. Many of them are still taught as children with mild disabilities, in contravention of the 2007 D.H. judgment of the European Court of Human Rights which condemned the Czech Republic for this practice. Urgent action is needed to remedy this shortcoming.”

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that this reported continual and systematic ethnic segregation of Roma children in Czech Republic was blatant racism and must end immediately.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that Roma children, like all Czech Republic children, should go to mainstream schools. This segregation resulting in inequality was shocking, unreasonable, unfair, immoral and discriminatory and was totally unacceptable in the 21st century Europe. Zed urged immediate intervention of European Union (EU) on this matter.

EU bosses, who boasted of human rights record of Europe, needed to wake up. Did high-flown “Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005–2015” initiative, of which Czech Republic held the presidency in 2010-2011, actually aimed at “exclusion”? Rajan Zed asked.

Zed applauded Muiznieks for speaking out for quality of education of Roma children in Czech Republic, for pointing out “overall situation of Roma is marked by conditions of exclusion and marginalization” and raising concern on “access to quality education, decent housing and freedom from discrimination” for Roma.

This reported continual segregation of Roma children in Czech Republic schools had resulted in inferior quality education and limiting success for them, thus causing them to fall into poverty, Rajan Zed pointed out.

Zed noted that all children were equal and should mix with each other for better Czech and European future societies. All children should have the right to education without any discriminatory practices to become healthy members of the society. Roma children should be accorded equal opportunities and avenues of full participation in Czech life and Czech Republic should “wholeheartedly” back their inclusion, Zed added.

Rajan Zed further said that Czech religious leaders and religious groups, especially the majority Roman Catholic Church, should take-up the cause of Roma people and raise the issue of their continuous maltreatment; as religion taught us to plead for the oppressed, stand with the poor, and seek justice for those whom God loved and too often the world overlooked. 

Zed argued that Roma people in Czech Republic reportedly faced violent attacks, stereotyping, racism, prejudice, growing gap between Roma and other Czechs, fear, beatings, poor quality housing, systemic employment and overall discrimination, persecution, throwing of Molotov cocktails, social exclusion, marginalization; refused service at restaurants, stores, discos, etc.; municipalities/towns failing to support them; and the state being unwilling or unable to offer protection.

Rajan Zed hoped that the country of Franz Kafka, Antonin Dvorak, Jaroslav Hasek, Karlovy Vary, and rich cultural heritage would not continue staying apathetic and silent spectator ignoring Roma apartheid and would come to their rescue. Vaclav Klaus and Petr Necas are President and Prime Minister respectively of Czech Republic.

References to Roma people in Europe, who number around 15-million, reportedly went as far back as ninth century CE.

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