The situation of the Roma minority is one of the Czech Republic's most urgent social and human rights problems. The Czech Republic seeks to address this complex problem with a wide range of activities. The overall direction of the Czech Republic's integration policy is defined in two strategic documents: the Concept for Roma Integration 2010-2013 and the Strategy for Combating Social Exclusion 2011-2015. The former document has at the same time the status of the Czech Republic's National Strategy for Roma Inclusion (NSRI), as it was translated and sent to Brussels in response to the European Commission's request to all member states to develop national strategies for Roma inclusion.
Initiated by the Decade of Roma Inclusion Secretariat Foundation and written by a coalition of Czech non-governmental organisations (NGOs), this report is intended to provide an independent assessment of the Czech Republic's progress in achieving the goal of Roma inclusion as defined in the Concept for Roma Integration/Czech NSRI. Focussing on six topics: education, employment, health, housing, anti discrimination, and structural requirements, the European Commission provided the member states with feedback on their strategies and made recommendations as to how the strategies could be improved. With a view to providing additional feedback from the perspective of civic society organisations, the Decade Secretariat decided that the independent civic society reports would focus on the same topics.
Due to this decision, this report does not cover all the dimensions of Roma integration that are covered by the Czech Concept for Roma Integration, which also includes chapters on the support of Roma identity and culture. However, the decision to limit this report to the social, economic and legal aspects of Roma integration should in no way be interpreted as a disregard for questions related to Roma identity and empowerment. On the contrary, the authors demonstrate throughout the report how the hitherto applied integration strategies fail to give the Roma communities a chance to participate actively in the process of integration. One of the most important challenges for the coming years will be to develop funding mechanisms that will be more accessible for Roma and to introduce better mechanisms for the participation of Roma in decision-making.
The first part of this summary follows the report's thematic structure. In the case of each of the six thematic chapters a few key messages will be highlighted. The full text of this report provides more comprehensive information on particular policies and programmes. The second part of this summary has been used to draw attention to three particular cross-sectoral challenges which have surfaced in many of the thematic chapters.