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Respekt in English

Children seized by the state

EU membership and free media have not stopped the Czech authorities from forcing assimilation of Roma by taking away children whose parents are poor or whose life style is different from that of the majority, Marek Švehla writes in Respekt.

The Czech state is quietly but rather thoroughly forcing assimilation of the Roma population. It does things similar to what white men once used to do in Australia or America. It takes children by violence from poor and uneducated people and sends them to state institutions to re-educate them and instil in them „normality,“ i.e. the social values and habits of the majority society.

It leaves behind disrupted families, desperate and humiliated parents and disoriented children who feel their relatives have failed. This is happening regardless of the Czech membership in the EU and regardless of the existing checks including the ombudsman and the free media.

Try taking Pakistanis' children

A more accurate description would be as follows: Every year social workers take thousands of children away from their families because their parents do not have enough money for food and clothes or their flat is too small. Another reason might be that they have different criteria for personal hygiene than those of the majority society or the fact that the family lives in an old block and has to share a toilet with neighbours.

The seizing of children usually takes place under dramatic circumstances, with an officer summoned by the social workers to tear a small child out of the mother's hands. Babies are frequently taken away from parents immediately after the birth.

Crucially, the whole process depends on a subjective strictness of the…

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