Romani people in the Czech Republic

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Romani people
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Romani people (Czech: Romové, commonly known as Gypsies Czech: Cikáni) in the Czech Republic constitute a minority. According to the last census from 2011, the Romani nationality was reported by the total of 13,150 inhabitants.[1] Only a small part of them filled in only the Romani nationality (5 199).[citation needed] Most of them stated the Romani nationality in combination with another one, for example, the Romani and Czech, the Romani and Moravian and the like (7,951).[citation needed] In the 2001 Census, 11,746 people reported the Romani nationality – at that time it was 0.1% of those claiming some nationality.[citation needed] In 2011, the result 13,150 is 0.2% of those, who reported some nationality.[citation needed]

However, at the same census, 40 370 inhabitants reported Romani language as their language[2] and, according to estimates by European Roma Rights Centre, the size of the population is between 250,000 and 300,000.[3]

Mutual relations between the Czechs and Romani are the worst from all ethnic groups in the country.[citation needed]

During WW2[edit]

Romani were exterminated by Nazi German mobile killing units and in camps such as the ones at Lety, Hodonín and Auschwitz. 90% of native Romani died, the Romani there now are mostly post-war immigrants from Slovakia or Hungary, or the descendants thereof.

Communist era[edit]

During the communist years unsuccessful attempts to change the nomadic living style of Romani were undertaken by the regime. Many Romani people were settled in panel houses that were, however, sooner or later utterly demolished (Chánov near Most). After 1989, some Romani women started to accuse the state of "forced sterilizations" arguing that they were not properly informed of what the "sterilization" meant. According to Czech ombudsman Otakar Motejl, "at least 50 Romani women were unlawfully sterilized". However, Czech representative at UN protested against such accusations, claiming that the accusation was "false" and Romani women "exaggerate in all cases". A hospital in Vitkovice (Ostrava) recently apologized to a Romani woman, who was sterilized after her second caesarean, but a request for a compensation of 1 million Czech crowns was rejected by the court.

Present years[edit]

According to a recent opinion poll,[citation needed] 68% Czechs have less or higher antipathy towards Romani and 82% Czechs refuse any form of a "special care of Roma rights". According to a 2010 survey, 83% of Czechs consider Romani asocial and 45% of Czechs would like to expel them out of the Czech Republic.[4] This attitude remains virtually unchanged. Police statistics from the early 90's show that the crime rate of the Romani population in Czechoslovakia was highly disproportional, especially among burglaries. According to Říčan (1998), Romani make up more than 60% of Czech prisoners and about 50% habitual offenders.

Emigration[edit]

Many Romani fled after the independence of the Czech Republic claiming that they felt insecure due to a surge in right wing activity. Countries such as Ireland, the UK, Norway and Sweden took in large numbers, but most Romani returned home after a few years. Their immigration to Great Britain suddenly dropped, after financial support for refugees started to be paid out in the forms of food-tickets in summer 2000 (due to the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999). One year later, British customs officers began to check the passengers flying towards UK at the Prague airport and routinely rejected those of Romani origin.[5] Due to the continuing wave of unsubstantiated requests for asylum, Canada set up a visa regime for Czech citizens in October 1997.

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