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Brussels: Romani women critique Czech town’s social inclusion program
Romani men and women from the Czech Republic discussed the situation of Romani people in Brussels. (PHOTO:  Romareact.org)
Jakub Dürr, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the European Union, received a visit in Brussels on 9 April 2013 from Romani women activists and NGO representatives from the Czech Republic. The meeting was attended by Romani activists Elena Gorolová, Iveta Horváthová, Ivanka Mariposa Čonková and Gabriela Hrabaňová. Among other matters, the women criticized the Social Inclusion Program of the municipality of Ostrava, which is slated for EU financial support.
"The meeting at the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the European Union was arranged by Amnesty International and the ERGO Network. Those organizations wanted to show the Romani women activists in more detail what the work of authorities in Brussels is about,” Hrabaňová told news server Romea.cz.
Ambassador Dürr discussed the current situation in the Czech Republic and minority issues with the Romani community representatives. "Among the topics covered during the meeting was the use of Structural Funds for social projects in the Czech Republic,” the Permanent Representation stated on its website about the meeting.
According to those attending, the meeting was of an informational nature. "It helped us better understand the operations of that office and its role, which essentially is to be an extension of the Foreign Affairs Ministry to represent the interests of the Czech Republic in Brussels,” Hrabaňová said.
"Among the specific topics the participants raise based on their own experience was a description of the situation in the town of Ostrava, particularly on Přednádraží Street. We also touched on Ostrava’s inclusion project, which plans to draw funding from EU funds and targets Romani people, but basically does not include Romani people in the planning and realization process,” Hrabaňová told news server Romea.cz.
A hearing at the European Parliament on the topic of discrimination against Romani people in the field of education and housing was also attended by the Romani representatives from the Czech Republic. The hearing was convened on the occasion of International Romani Day.