Czech
15
March
2015

I am providing auspices to the 16th International World Roma Festival KHAMORO with honor and with love, and not just because it has become customary that this festival has always taken place under the auspices of the Prime Minister.

I consider Khamoro one of the great, active attempts to contribute to our knowledge of the Roma minority and to help improve mutual relations in this country. That is the reason that most motivated me to this patronage.

This festival of international scope, through its history and its quality, has become an integral part of our cultural and social life, an example of connecting cultures and mutual understanding. I genuinely welcome the announcement of the organizers of the festival that this year’s program will be enriched through storytelling by Roma elders. Oral transmission of memory had a very strong place in the history of the Roma. At a time when many young people are seduced by the temptations of written script, we must highlight the organizers’ approach. I also take a positive view of the side events of the festival, which aim to open up dialogue and present good examples of coexistence in the Czech Republic and elsewhere. I am also aware that this festival is an opportunity to identify areas that deserve our attention, and especially to identify solutions, areas such as equal access to quality education for which the Government of the Czech Republic has taken responsibility in its policy statement to develop and improve the quality of public education.

Khamoro touches many other topics for which we as the government have also taken responsibility through out Minister for Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Legislation, Jiří Dienstbier. If I remember well, Khamoro plans to receive a Roma delegation from the Secretariat of the Decade of Roma Inclusion during the festival to talk with them about plans, in the Czech Republic and also in other European countries, for possibly contributing toward improving the situation of Roma minority, which is the main goal of the original ideas of forming the Decade, initiated ten years ago by philanthropist George Soros.

Finally, I wish all the participants in and visitors to the festival pleasant experiences associated with the quality of Roma music and culture and with the opening up of discussions on the burning issues of our time. As I already mentioned, I welcome all similar events that contribute toward the improvement of tolerance in Czech society.

Bohuslav Sobotka

 

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