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July 12, 2020
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Czech Govt Human Rights Commissioner refuses to resign despite some Human Rights Council members calling for her to do so

13.1.2020 19:54
Helena Válková (PHOTO: ANO party archive)
Helena Válková (PHOTO: ANO party archive)

The Czech Press Agency has reported that the Czech Government did not take a vote today on whether Czech MP Helena Válková (ANO) should be dismissed from her post as Human Rights Commissioner. The cabinet did discuss the idea, which was raised by First Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD), but after she addressed the cabinet the ministers did not call for a vote on whether she should remain in office.

According to information from those present at the cabinet session, the Human Rights Commissioner has refused to resign and rejected the opportunity to step down of her own accord. Last week she declined to become a candidate for the post of Public Defender of Rights after the media reported that she had co-authored an article at the close of the 1970s together with the infamous communist prosecutor Josef Urválek.

Válková justified refusing the nomination by referencing her previous membership in the Czechoslovak Communist Party. According to her critics, however, she should also resign as Human Rights Commissioner.

Hamáček announced ahead of the cabinet session that he would be submitting a motion to Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) to dismiss Válková. However, according to him, ANO would de facto decide on whether she would remain in office because they hold 10 cabinet seats as opposed to the five held by ČSSD.

Válková has been Human Rights Commissioner since May, when she was appointed by the Government. Some members of the Czech Government Human Rights Council have opposed her continuing in office, according to Deník N, and have called on her to resign.

Over the weekend the lawyer Tomáš Němeček called on Válková, who previously served as Czech Justice Minister, to step down. He also announced that if she does not, he will resign from his voluntary post on the council.

ČTK, Zdeněk Ryšavý, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Helena Válková, human rights, Miloš Zeman, officials



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