Czech Govt Human Rights Commissioner steps down
Czech Radio reported today that Czech Human Rights Commissioner Martina Štěpánková is resigning from her post at the end of March and from her other position as Deputy Minister administering the Human Rights Section at the Office of the Government. She has confirmed that information to the Czech News Agency.
Štěpánková said it was her decision to step down. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) told Czech Radio that a selection procedure will be announced for the post and that the first round of selection will be internal.
The Human Rights Commissioner position was revived last year by the second Babiš Government. Štěpánková, a lawyer, was appointed in June.
During the previous administration, the Government of Bohuslav Sobotka (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) had appointed a Human Rights Minister. During the first years of the Sobotka administration that cabinet-level post was held by Jiří Dienstbier (ČSSD), who chose Štěpánková as his deputy.
After Jan Chvojka (ČSSD) replaced Dienstbier as minister, Štěpánková remained the deputy, including after the Babiš Government cancelled the cabinet-level post. Prior to joining the Office of the Government, Štěpánková worked for the Counselling Center for Civil and Human Rights, an NGO.
The Human Rights Commissioner's agenda involves human rights, the issue of the Romani minority and other national minorities, nonprofit organizations, equal opportunities, and the rights of people living with disabilities. The Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion is also part of that agenda.
The Commissioner is also the Vice-Chair of the relevant Government advisory bodies chaired by the PM. Some of those advisory bodies have recently garnered criticism due to their lack of activity.
Czech Radio quoted the Czech Public Defender of Rights, Anna Šabatová, in that regard. Šabatová noted that the Czech Government Human Rights Council, of which she is an official member, has not convened for a year and a half.
The PM told Czech Radio that he is still the chair there and that it will convene on 12 March. The first round of the selection proceeding for the position of Deputy Minister for Human Rights was announced by the State Secretary of the Office of the Government on 18 February.
Applications can be submitted until the end of the month. The candidate must have completed a Master's degree, hold Czech citizenship or citizenship of an EU country, speak English, and have gained a security clearance for working with classified information.
Academics or persons who have worked for several years in either Czech or European authorities and institutions are able to apply. The United Nations delivered recommendations to the Czech Republic in November 2017 about its human rights record as part of its Universal Periodic Review process (UPR).
The recommendations were to improve the integration of Romani people into society, combating Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia, and continuing the country's efforts to achieve equality between men and women. The UPR also called on the Czech Government to compensate the victims of forced sterilization.
Some UN countries also expressed appreciation for the progress the country has made recently on integrating children with "disadvantages" into education, as well as the agreement to buy out the pig farm at Lety u Písku on the site of the former concentration camp for Romani people so as to create a dignified memorial there. Most previous Governments in the Czech Republic since 1993 have had a Human Rights Commissioner.
The position was first established in 1998. Prior to Štěpánková it had been held by five men and one other woman.
- Czech courts definitively acquit publisher of Salafist book of promoting a movement against human rights
- Complaint against racist election campaign in Czech town heads to the European Court of Human Rights
- US Embassy in Prague gives human rights award to Magdalena Karvayová for helping Romani children access quality education
- Czech Human Rights Commissioner: Human rights not considered important enough, critique of nonprofits is problematic
- Czech court finds author of death threats against human rights defenders committed a politically-motivated hate crime
- Czech Foreign Minister Petříček wants a foreign policy that advocates for human rights
- Czech Govt Human Rights Commissioner says she will criticize politicians who are racist and resign rather than be censored
- Czech Government revives position of Human Rights Commissioner
- Czech Justice Minister leaving politics because most of his fellow ANO members hold different opinions about human rights
- Czech Justice Minister now in charge of human rights agenda, but will he join the next Government?
- Former Czech Human Rights Minister says the entire country should campaign against denial of Romani genocide
- Czech presidential candidate criticizes cancellation of Human Rights Minister post
- Human rights agenda, including Agency for Social Inclusion and Hate Free Culture, now under Czech Justice Minister
- Čeněk Růžička receives human rights prize from the US Ambassador to the Czech Republic for his contribution to Romani Holocaust recognition
- Czech NGOs call on incoming PM not to jettison cabinet post for human rights
- Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner welcomes Czech Govt purchase of pig farm on Romani genocide site
- Martina Horváthová's statement of resignation from the Czech Gov't Council on Romani Community Affairs
- Commentary: Is the Czech PM just a liar, or is he also paranoid?
- New vice-chair of the Czech Govt Romani Affairs Council: Problems must be addressed, especially in difficult times
- Czech Human Rights Commissioner nominates former Culture Minister to Human Rights Council for organizing buyout of pig farm on Holocaust site
- UN budget cuts endanger human rights monitoring - deadline to join NGO letter is TOMORROW 26 MAY
- Commentary: What can the European elections improve? The Czech Republic's global image
- Former Czech Justice Minister slated to become Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner
- Commentary: Czech Republic, Slovakia must compensate the victims of forced sterilization while they are still alive
- Civil society members of the Czech Govt Roma Council seek meeting with Czech Interior Minister and PM over recent interethnic violence
- LIVE BROADCAST TUESDAY 26 MARCH: Council of Europe holds the 7th International Roma Women's Conference
- Czech Prime Minister expresses condolences over the death of legendary Romani singer
- Czech lower house rejects controversial candidate for Deputy Public Defender of Rights