Ukrainian refugees with dual Ukrainian-Hungarian citizenship who identify themselves with a Hungarian passport, cannot expect any official help in the Czech Republic, Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakusan has warned.
The Czech authorities first faced the problem of dual citizenship in connection with the Romani people who had fled Ukraine after Russia’s invasion of the country, as many of these refugees have Hungarian passports in addition to a Ukrainian one, Rakusan said, according to a report from Hungarian news agency MTI.
Those who identify themselves with Hungarian passports are not entitled to temporary protection or social assistance in the Czech Republic. Only Ukrainians [citizens] are entitled to temporary protection, the minister said. These Romani people should apply for help in Hungary, especially since many of them are also originally from there, he noted.
According to Vít Rakusan, so far some 1,200 Ukrainian Romani refugees have arrived in the Czech Republic “and they are treated like anyone else.” The main challenge with the Romani people is that they are large families, sometimes of 20-30 people, for whom it is very difficult to find suitable shared accommodation.”
Emil Vorác, director of the NGO Khamoro, said some of the Romani refugees in Ukraine do not speak Romani, Ukrainian, or Russian, but only Hungarian. Another problem is that the information leaflets issued by the Czech authorities are all in Ukrainian, which these Romas do not understand.
The Czech Interior Ministry recently set up a special fund of 10 million crowns (~EUR 409,473) to help Ukrainian refugees from “different socio-cultural” backgrounds.
Representatives of the interior and labor ministries and NGOs discussed the problems faced by Romani refugees in Ukraine earlier this week, and agreed on a special aid program. This will include the placement of Roma refugees in different regions of the country, family by family, to prevent the formation of isolated Roma ghettos,” Jelena Siladjzic, director of the NGO Slovo21, pointed out.
Czech press reports suggest that the number of Roma Hungarian refugees who come from Ukraine’s Transcarpathian region is estimated at a few hundred.
Featured photo illustration by Gábor Kiss/MTI