CZECH REPUBLIC: GOVERNMENT AND CHURCH TO COOPERATE ON ROMA ISSUES” “

(Sir Europe – Bratislava) – The tense situation in the regions inhabited by the Roma population was the main theme of a meeting between cardinal Dominik Duka, president of the Czech Bishops’ Conference, and Monika Simunkova, commissioner of the government for human rights. The cardinal expressed his concern over the fact that the north-western and southern parts of Bohemia have been recently marked by growing ethnical and social tensions. He pointed to the fact that 80% of the clients of local Caritas offices are Roma people, receiving not only financial and material help but also education offered mainly by the Salesians of Don Bosco. "It is obvious that this issue is not just a political problem, even the police is often helpless in this regard", continues cardinal Duka, emphasizing that the Catholic Church will keep on doing its utmost to help solve the situation. "Persistent hard work and encouragement through good examples are the most important steps", concludes the prelate, emphasizing that it is not only a problem of unemployment or poor education, but also and foremost a problem of the "value system" in society. Upon the conclusions of the meeting held last week, the commissioner will elaborate a project of concrete help to Roma people which will afterwards be subject to discussion within the Bishops’ Conference, to find the best possible way to cooperate.

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