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Most Czechs agree with accepting refugees from war

1.5.2015 5:04
Kurdish refugees in 2015. (PHOTO:  Czech Television)
Kurdish refugees in 2015. (PHOTO: Czech Television)

People in the Czech Republic are more willing to accept refugees today according to a survey performed by the Median agency for Czech Radio. The survey found that 42 % of Czechs would accept some refugees in a spirit of solidarity.

People were asked what the state should do in order for Europe to handle growing illegal immigration, mainly from African countries, and what the justified reasons would be for accepting refugees. Most respondents said war is a justified reason for granting asylum.  

More than half see persecution and political victimization as a legitimate reason as well. "This approval applies most to a war that threatens people's lives in a particular area - the vast majority, 80 %, agree that is a justified reason for granting asylum. Most people also believe the same applies to environmental catastrophes, to water shortages, droughts, and floods," Daniel Prokop, a sociologist with Median, told Czech Radio.  

"It's interesting that more than half of those surveyed support persecution and political victimization as a legitimate reason for granting asylum. Fewer people believe that cultural persecution - because of race, sexual orientation, etc. - is grounds for asylum," Prokop said.  

The Czech Republic has a reputation as a state that is traditionally more fearful of immigrants. Reports of the tragic fates of refugees perishing during attempts to sail across the Mediterranean Sea, however, might be changing people's opinions.

"Under the rubric of accepting some refugees, people mostly imagine dozens or even hundreds of people in provisional arrangements in the Czech Republic," Prokop explains. Approximately half of those surveyed also believe the Czech Republic should provide financial aid to the countries most afflicted.  

"Authorities in Italy, according to experts, are completely failing to handle the awarding of asylum and the controlling of this immigration, which leads to many people passing through their system unnoticed. They then go to other states in Europe, so the support of financial and other aid is needed there," Prokop explains.  

Most people (73 %) are inclined to agree the Czech Republic should contribute to humanitarian action in refugees' countries of origin. However, roughly half of those surveyed would renew the kind of border controls that were in place before the country joined the EU. 

Jana Baudyšová,, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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