Anti-Roma demonstrations organized by “far-right” political groups in the north led to clashes with police. The government failed again to address discrimination against Roma in education, despite a European Court of Human Rights judgement.
In March, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights noted that racist and anti-Roma discourse was still common among mainstream politicians at both national and local levels. Both the Commissioner and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concerns over the perpetuation of systemic and unlawful segregation of Romani children from mainstream education.
Following tensions between Roma and non-Roma in Nový Bydžov in the Hradec Králové region, the town’s mayor stated in November 2010 that “citizens… want the Roma to disappear. But… [t]he hands of the local government are tied by the legislation”. Representatives of the Workers’ Social Justice Party welcomed the mayor’s statement and announced their readiness to help the municipality. On 12 March, the Party organized a march in Nový Bydžov. Three Roma were attacked by the demonstrators. NGOs expressed concerns about reports of excessive use of force by the police against peaceful counter-demonstrators, who attempted to create a blockade to prevent the marchers from passing through the predominantly Roma neighbourhood.
In response to increased tensions between Roma and non-Roma in the Šluknov area, the Minister of Interior met with the mayors of the region on 8 November. He announced the establishment of a special public order police unit. The Prime Minister reportedly said that the tensions were the result of excessively generous welfare policies and that the state should not assist “slackers and delinquents” who abuse benefits.
Approximately 50 experts from NGOs, academia and government agencies resigned from their Ministry of Education working groups in May. The resignations were in protest against the government’s failure to allocate sufficient resources to implement the National Action Plan for Inclusive Education, and its retrograde action on implementing necessary reforms. The group stated that remaining would amount to participation in a “window-dressing” exercise to mask the lack of action by the authorities.
The government continued to be criticized also for its failure to implement the European Court of Human Rights judgement in the case of D.H. and Others v. Czech Republic, in which the Court held that the state had discriminated against Romani pupils in access to education. The judgement required the Czech Republic to adopt measures to prevent discrimination and redress its effects. In May, the government adopted amendments to the decrees on the provision of counselling services in schools and on the education of children, pupils and students with special educational needs. These entered into force on 1 September. However, local NGOs expressed concerns that the amendments had not introduced the strong framework necessary to implement the judgement. Moreover, the CERD Committee had stated in August that the amended decrees may in fact reinforce discrimination.
Following a review in June, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe called on the government to speed up its implementation of the National Action Plan and provide precise information on its current state. The Committee also noted with concern that much remained to be done to ensure that Romani children were not discriminated against within the education system.
In January, legislation came into force extending the maximum period of immigration detention to 18 months, giving rise to profound concern that it would lead to foreign nationals languishing in detention solely for immigration purposes. In July, the Ministry of Interior presented a draft of the new Act on the Stay of Foreigners. The draft maintained the extended maximum period of immigration detention. Moreover, the human rights Ombudsperson expressed concern that the draft, if adopted and implemented, would sanction a discriminatory two-tier system for Czech nationals and their non-EU family members.