Czech Helsinki Committee: Education Minister and his neo-fascist adviser should resign
New facts have come to light about Ladislav Bátora, an adviser at the Czech Education Ministry, and the Czech Helsinki Committee is sharply criticizing his engagement there. "It is completely unacceptable that an adviser to the minister responsible for an education system based on democratic principles be a person of fascist opinions, not to mention ties that directly link him to anti-Semitism and neo-fascism," the Czech Helsinki Committee's declaration reads. News server Romea.cz publishes the declaration in full below.
The Czech Helsinki Committee hereby expresses its serious alarm over the fact that the Czech Education Minister has kept quiet information about Ladislav Bátora, de facto covering up his years of activity on the right-wing extremist scene even though proof of that activity is publicly available.
Even though the Education Minister told the public he would never collaborate with people who hold extremist opinions, exactly such a person has been his adviser for a month now.
Ladislav Bátora is demonstrably connected to the Czech ultra-right, openly espousing the ideas of intolerance and xenophobia, and in the past he has closely collaborated with neo-fascist and ultra-nationalist movements such as the National Party and the Patriotic Front.
This adviser, who attended a closed meeting of Czech anti-Semites and deniers of the Holocaust of the Jewish and Roma people, has also delivered lectures for the Patriotic Front. This adviser, who is also the chair of the DOST association, published an anti-Semitic article about an editor at the weekly RESPEKT on his web pages, an article unlike any other published in the period since 1989. The content of that article is comparable to the articles that were published in the anti-Semitic journal Politika or in the Nazi collaborationist press by pro-Nazi activist journalists during the Protectorate era.
In a democratic society founded on the protection of minorities, the rejection of totalitarian practices and streams of thought, and respect for human rights, there should under no circumstances be any place for the minimization, if not the tacit support, of Bátora's activities by representatives of the state. However, this is what we have seen in particular from Education Minister Dobeš, from bureaucrats in the press department of the Czech Education Ministry, and from Czech President Klaus and his staff.
Bátora is not himself a state official, but it cannot be ruled out that, in his position as ministerial adviser, he will influence the conceptual development of the Czech Education Ministry, which is supposed to guarantee inclusive education and training in tolerance.
It is completely unacceptable that an adviser to the minister responsible for an education system based on democratic principles be a person of fascist opinions, not to mention ties that directly link him to anti-Semitism and neo-fascism. The current apathy of political elites toward Bátora's work as an adviser after the recent publication of this new information about him is not only sad, but also very dangerous.
Persons following totalitarian ideology cannot be permitted to enter the leadership of key state institutions, especially not persons who have not only never revised their opinions, but who continue to espouse them. If the Czech Republic is to be a democratic state, people who publicly use fascist rhetoric cannot be allowed to become the closest official collaborators of members of the government!
For these reasons, we call on the Education Minister to take heed of the fascist activities of Ladislav Bátora, to reflect on them as an obvious counter-indication for his performing an advisory role, and to stop Bátora's further work at the ministry for these reasons.
Since Friday, 29 April 2011, Minister Dobeš has known that Bátora is linked to totalitarian groups that have been monitored by the security services of the Czech Republic. The minister also knows that Bátora has never renounced his activities, but that on the contrary he has said that in hindsight he would change nothing about them.
The Education Minister is discrediting and jeopardizing the reputation of the ministry and should take political responsibility for his actions. Given his systematic displays of ignorance about this question, as well as the disagreements with Bátora's appointment previously expressed by the academic community, experts in education, and human rights organizations, we call on the Education Minister to resign.
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