Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Czech Roma: Betrayed by Vatican's ignorance

Czech Roma are disappointed at Catholic church and its head, Pope Benedict XVI for not having stood up against a wave of violence by neo-Nazis, Roma Realia group said in a press release passed to CTK Saturday.

The Catholic church is ignoring neo-Nazi and nationalist activities targeted against Romanies, Roma Realia said.

"We are witnesses of a historical moment when Romanies are being betrayed by the Vatican in the form of silence and no statements, although the head of the Catholic church is now on a visit to the Czech Republic," Vaclav Miko, a representative of Roma Realia and the Movement of Romany Resistance in the Czech Republic, said.

The Movement turned to the Pope in the spring, asking him to open a discussion on the position of Romanies in Europe.

In early September, it asked for an audience with the Pope during his visit, but the plea was allegedly dismissed.

Miko said Romanies made up the smallest strata of Czech population and "are constant targets of anti-Gypsy feelings arising from a racial and cultural bias."

"The situation of Romanies is so serious that they are unable to face neo-Nazis's attacks as the executive power is unable to provide security to Romanies," Miko said.

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