Czechia marks International Roma Day with gala concert, exhibit, and legislation

In Czechia, International Roma Day will be commemorated with several events, including a gala concert and the opening of an exhibition.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 08.04.2024 13:32:00 (updated on 08.04.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

International Roma Day on Monday, April 8, recognizes Europe’s largest ethnic minority. Originating from the first Roma congress in 1971, the day celebrates Roma culture and history.

In Czechia, International Roma Day will be commemorated with several events, including a gala concert and the opening of an exhibition at Prague's Holešovice market.

Roma still face discrimination and poverty

Ahead of International Roma Day EC Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Vĕra Jourová, called on EU member states, particularly those with a large Roma population, to step up their efforts to match the extent of the challenges Roma in Europe face and achieve visible progress.

A government report revealed that nearly 250,000 Roma reside in the Czech Republic as of 2020. The majority hail from Slovakia, followed by Olaš Roma, which have their own judiciary systems and kings, Hungarian Roma, and smaller groups of Czech, Moravian Roma, and German Sinti.

“Today, Roma still face high levels of anti-Gypsyism and discrimination in their daily lives. Eightypercent of Roma in ten EU countries are at risk of poverty, 52 percent experience housing deprivation, and 22 percent live in homes without running water. Roma continue to face serious challenges in accessing rights and services equally. This also includes equal access to quality education, employment, and healthcare.”

In March, members of three Czech lower house subcommittees endorsed a definition of anti-Gypsism as actions leading to Roma marginalization or exclusion and physical violence against them. The non-binding definition, previously supported by the upper house’s human rights committee, aims to combat discrimination and prejudice against ethnic minorities.

Legislators emphasized the need to address societal hatred and ensure equal treatment for Roma. The resolution aims to promote dialogue and acknowledge the historical persecution of Roma.

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A jubilee year

International Roma Day celebrations organized by ARA ART culminate in a gala celebration tonight, with Romani performers such as Marsell Bendig, Lucie Bikárová, Antonín Gondolán, and others taking the stage at the Archa + Theatre. An exhibit at the Prague Holešovice Market will also open today, featuring highlights of a decade of International Roma Day celebrations. The annual World Music Festival Khamoro takes place this year on May 26.

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