The Role of the International Community
The Czech Republics policies toward Roma drew widespread international concern in 1998, especially as negotiations began over accession to the European Union. The E.U. demanded in its Accession Partnership with the Czech Republic that the treatment of the Roma minority, especially with regard to the citizenship law, be resolved.
The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination cited systemic problems for Roma with regard to access to education, employment, and social services in its concluding observations on the Czech Republic in March.
The U.S. representative to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe voiced strong concern over the citizenship law during 1998 and encouraged the Czech government to amend the laws discriminatory provisions. The U.S. budgeted an estimated U.S.$12.2 million in assistance to the Czech Republic for 1998, the majority of which was slated to finance upgraded military equipment and military training in anticipation of the Czech Republics accession to NATO. Human rights organizations expressed concern that this upgrading would leave the Czech Republic with obsolete weapons that might then be sold to abusive regimes in other parts of the world.