The Honorable Excellency Mr. Lukáš Kaucký
Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Bulgaria
On June 21, 2021, a video footage circulated on social media from Teplice, Czech Republic in which a Roma man is detained from the police which later, the Roma man died in the ambulance called to the scene. According to the video footage, the intervention of the police is recorded and it can be seen that the police is using excessive use of power by kneeling for several minutes on the Roma man’s neck. “Romea”, a Czech Roma media notes that the police denied abuse of power and that the intervention by the police was not the cause of death, but that the drugs the Romani man is said to have used were the cause of death.
The civil movement – Roma Standing Conference, part of transnational Roma movement, expresses serious concern about the recent horrifying act of police brutality which lead to the death of a Roma man in Teplice, Czech Republic. The movement calls on responsible institutions, the Minister of the Interior Mr. Jan Hamáček, the Prime Minister Mr. Andrej Babiš and the President of the Czech Republic Mr. Miloš Zeman to address and sanction this act of police brutality in order to avoid imminent threat that the act may cause.
We, as a movement, strongly condemn excessive use of power by all institutions, especially by the police which in the case of the Czech Republic is not the first case where police is abusing power. The attack on Roma children at a summer camp run by the Romani musician Ida Kelarová and the death of a Roma man in police custody inside a pizzeria in Žatec are prime examples which demonstrate the hostility of the police as an institution towards the Roma community in the Czech Republic.
We would like to remind the stakeholders, especially the institutions which are accountable to such violation that this act is very similar to the case of George Floyd in the United States of America. Thus, in the name of the democratic principles and the values of the European Union, we address this concern in order to safeguard the basic human rights and freedoms of all especially to Roma living in the Czech Republic which progressively became normal to attack the Roma community.
We strongly believe that such violation will generate harmful environment to all the communities, especially to the Roma community due to the marginality and vulnerability when institutions show superiority over their rights. In addition, this act may pose a security risk to the Roma community if it is not addressed as a violation or misrepresented in the media in order to generate hate towards the Roma community.
As transnational Roma movement:
- We call on you to demand an independent and thorough investigation into the circumstance of death of Stanislav Tomáš. The investigation should also ensure the protection of privacy and safety of eyewitnesses;
- We call on you to ensure that responsible officers and institutions in the Czech Republic are held accountablefor their actions and that appropriate sanctions are introduced;
- We call on you to ensure objective reporting in this case and condemn cases of biased coverage in the media as well as derogatory, inflammatory and racist public statements on behalf of state officials in the Czech Republic, including the recent comments made by the Czech Prime Minister and Interior Minister in relation to this case;
- We call on you to take firm action against police brutality and ethnic profiling by police forces in the EU and pre-accession countries to ensure adequate and non-discriminatory police methods are applied, to make sure no other citizens dies at the hands of the police
Roma Standing Conference Bulgaria