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Czech Deputy Human Rights Minister's priorities to include civic education, giving human rights a "human face"

19.4.2017 7:29
David Beňák
David Beňák

David Beňák has recently been appointed Deputy Minister for Human Rights and Legislation. News server asked him to make a statement about what he anticipates to achieve in this new post and what his expectations and priorities are.

David Beňák for news server

I don't distinguish in this agenda betweem human rights and then the rights of Romani people, I see it as a whole, all of it is interconnected. I believe this cannot be done in any other way, because these matters are actually all connected.

It might sound like a cliché to say that everything is connected to everything else, but that is actually how things are and it's not possible to separate them. Within the brief amount of time that I will be working with the minister at the Office of the Government I am making the law on social enterprises my priority because I believe it is an important component of how we can improve the employment trate of people in socially excluded localities.

Another matter is the concept of civic education, which the minister was put in charge of in December 2016, and we must submit a concept for that by May. A third thing is to promote the "human face" of this agenda, because few people are aware of what a broad, important agenda it is and what we are doing, it's not about the exclusive group rights of this or that part of the population, but it is a cross-cutting issue and it is rather complex, difficult work.

I believe that, paradoxically, probably the hardest part of this work is communicating to people what we do and why it is important in a comprehensible way. I understand some might have big expectations now that big things will be changed, but we must live in reality.

I will be in this job for six to seven months, which is a rather brief time in which to change anything in any essential way, and the question basically is what even can be changed from the position of the Human Rights Minister. I am his co-worker, we are sharing some of this work, and my aim is to do it as best I can so I can demonstrate that Romani people are part of this society.

Romani people can do any work they have the capability and skills for. If, in the course of this process, something can be changed or improved during these six or seven months, then that will certainly be all to the good, but I cannot promise anybody that anything specifically will change apart from the three priorities that I have mentioned, and I would like to see them through to the end, somehow.

brf, mih, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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