Czech Republic

Roma in the Czech Republic Foreigners in Their Own Land

Since 1989, Czech authorities have failed to adequately protect Roma from the ever-increasing danger of racist attacks. When attacks do occur, Roma are often denied equal treatment before the law, a direct violation of both Czech and international law. The biggest problem stems from the local police, who sometimes display an open sympathy for Askinheads, allowing them to hold unauthorized marches and threaten non-ethnic Czechs. Police are often slow to respond to Romani calls for help and hesitant to make arrests, even after a violent attack. In some cases, police themselves have used excessive force against Roma, sometimes causing death. Overall, the Czech record on human rights has been admirable since the 1989 Avelvet revolution toppled the communist government. But the otherwise laudable reforms of Czech democracy have failed to ensure many basic human rights to the Roma minority. The effects of the citizenship law and the states unwillingness to combat racist violence reveal an undeniable pattern of discrimination along ethnic lines.