Culture & Society Czech Republic News

Romani war refugees segregated in Czech centre over accusations of theft


Prague, Czech Republic – Accused of theft, Romani war refugees from Ukraine are being forced to stay in a separate area of a centre in the Czech Republic, Romea reported.

The organisation claims that a group of Roma people was segregated in a refugee centre near the north-eastern Czech city of Ostrava after the regional governor accused them of stealing, despite there being no police report of theft.

They were also allegedly not allowed to leave the premises without escort, including to go to the bathroom.

Romea said that the group of Romani refugees, hailing from Berehove near the Hungarian border, did not receive basic aid and necessities from the staff nor helped with official formalities, citing a volunteer speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The adult Romani refugees wanted to go to the bistro, which is located on the ground floor, for water and food, just like the other refugees,” that volunteer was quoted as saying.

“However, somebody hid both the water and the food from them. That night, ethnic Ukrainians arrived at the reception centre and were provided with both registration and visas, insurance, food and drink.”

The Fire and Rescue Service of the Moravian-Silesian region, in charge of running the centre, said one group of Roma was indeed separated from the rest after some were caught stealing possessions, but denied claims of systemic segregation and discrimination.

About 300,000 people have fled from Ukraine to the Czech Republic since the beginning of Russia’s invasion late February.