Romani people in the Czech Republic

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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). 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). In the 2001 Census, 11,746 people reported the Romani nationality – at that time it was 0.1% of those claiming some nationality. In 2011, the result 13,150 is 0.2% of those, who reported some nationality.

However, at the same census, 40 370 inhabitants reported Romani language as their language.[2]


The Romani people originate from the Northern India,[3][4][5][6][7][8] presumably from the northwestern Indian states Rajasthan[7][8] and Punjab.[7]

The linguistic evidence has indisputably shown that roots of Romani language lie in India: the language has grammatical characteristics of Indian languages and shares with them a big part of the basic lexicon, for example, body parts or daily routines.[9]

More exactly, Romani shares the basic lexicon with Hindi and Punjabi. It shares many phonetic features with Marwari, while its grammar is closest to Bengali.[10]

Genetic findings in 2012 suggest the Romani originated in northwestern India and migrated as a group.[4][5][11] According to a genetic study in 2012, the ancestors of present scheduled tribes and scheduled caste populations of northern India, traditionally referred to collectively as the Ḍoma, are the likely ancestral populations of modern European Roma.[12]

In February 2016, during the International Roma Conference, the Indian Minister of External Affairs stated that the people of the Roma community were children of India. The conference ended with a recommendation to the Government of India to recognize the Roma community spread across 30 countries as a part of the Indian diaspora.[13]

During World War II[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 government. Many Romani people were settled in panel houses that they've, 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, 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.[14] 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.


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.[15] Due to the continuing wave of unsubstantiated requests for asylum, Canada set up a visa regime for Czech citizens in October 1997.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "K romsk nrodnosti se veejn hls 13 150 lid. Mn ne k Rytm jedi ze Star Wars". Hospodsk noviny. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Hancock 2002, p. xx: ‘While a nine century removal from India has diluted Indian biological connection to the extent that for some Romanian groups, it may be hardly representative today, Sarren (1976:72) concluded that we still remain together, genetically, Asian rather than European’
  4. ^ a b Mendizabal, Isabel (6 December 2012). "Reconstructing the Population History of European Romani from Genome-wide Data". Current Biology. 22: 2342–2349. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2012.10.039. PMID 23219723. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Sindya N. Bhanoo (11 December 2012). "Genomic Study Traces Roma to Northern India". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ Current Biology.
  7. ^ a b c K. Meira Goldberg; Ninotchka Devorah Bennahum; Michelle Heffner Hayes. "Flamenco on the Global Stage: Historical, Critical and Theoretical Perspectives". p. 50. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  8. ^ a b Simon Broughton; Mark Ellingham; Richard Trillo. "World Music: Africa, Europe and the Middle East". p. 147. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  9. ^ Šebková, Hana; Žlnayová, Edita (1998), Nástin mluvnice slovenské romštiny (pro pedagogické účely) (PDF), Ústí nad Labem: Pedagogická fakulta Univerzity J. E. Purkyně v Ústí nad Labem, p. 4, ISBN 80-7044-205-0, archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04 
  10. ^ Hübschmannová, Milena (1995). "Romaňi čhib – romština: Několik základních informací o romském jazyku". Bulletin Muzea romské kultury. Brno: Muzeum romské kultury (4/1995). Zatímco romská lexika je bližší hindštině, marvárštině, pandžábštině atd., v gramatické sféře nacházíme mnoho shod s východoindickým jazykem, s bengálštinou. 
  11. ^ "5 Intriguing Facts About the Roma". Live Science. 
  12. ^ Rai, N; Chaubey, G; Tamang, R; Pathak, AK; Singh, VK (2012), "The Phylogeography of Y-Chromosome Haplogroup H1a1a-M82 Reveals the Likely Indian Origin of the European Romani Populations", PLoS ONE, 7 (11): e48477, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048477, PMC 3509117Freely accessible, PMID 23209554 
  13. ^ "Can Romas be part of Indian diaspora?". 29 February 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  14. ^ "Češi propadají anticikánismu, každý druhý tu Romy nechce, zjistil průzkum -". Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  15. ^ "Interview BBC". Retrieved 2016-05-21. 


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