Czech Human Rights Minister says USA's human rights report about the Czech Republic is correct and factual
Czech Human Rights Minister Jiří Dienstbier (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) says the report issued by the US State Department on the state of human rights in the Czech Republic is correct and factual. In the document, which the American authorities publish annually, reservations were expressed regarding the situation of Romani people and the remarks made by political representatives about the migration crisis, including remarks made by Czech President Miloš Zeman.
The Office of the President has said such criticism from allies is unnecessary. "I consider this assessment of the Czech Republic to be correct and factual. The facts described are known to me and to the Government and we are doing our best to address them," commented Human Rights Minister Dienstbier.
The position of Romani people in the Czech Republic has already been mentioned in the annual report several times. "We are very well aware of the need to address the position of Romani people in all crucial areas of life. We are following the situation and assessing it. Last year the Government approved the Romani Integration Strategy 2015-2020, which I submitted, the aim of which was to reverse negative trends in the development of the situation of Romani people in the Czech Republic by 2020. This especially concerns the areas of education, employment, housing and social affairs. The Strategy differs from its predecessors in that it does not focus just on the situation of Romani people in excluded localities, but sees the process of integration as a comprehensive synchrony of necessary events that must happen throughout all of society, both on the side of this minority and on the side of the majority," Dienstbier said.
The US State Department, as it did last year, mentions Zeman's controversial opinions, specifically his declaration that Muslim refugees will not respect local customs and laws but will want to introduce Islamic sharia law instead. The report also recalls Zeman's appearance on 17 November in Prague side-by-side with the head of the extremist "Bloc against Islam" organization, Martin Konvička.
"As far as the remarks of some political representatives are concerned, I would like to emphasize that the vocabulary of hate cannot be allowed to dominate the public space," Human Rights Minister Dienstbier said. "Some might believe such rhetoric 'just' excludes refugees. However, once we begin excluding, we can be sure it will not end with just one group. The answer to fear of refugees is to build a cohesive society that does not exclude anyone, not our own poor, nor foreigners who eventually seek asylum here. The answer is to build a functioning state that people will be able to rely on, including in cases of crisis. Then they will not be afraid even when we begin discussing receiving people from abroad."
Zeman's spokesperson Jiří Ovčáček said he considers the US criticism unnecessary. "This creates the impression that the entire passage concerning the Czech Republic is just comprised of several reports from nonprofits and media headlines. It's absolutely unnecessary for a country that is an ally to proceed in this way against a fellow ally," he told the Czech News Agency.
Petr Fiala, the chair of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), doesn't like the reservations expressed by the USA either. "I would welcome greater restraint and a sense of reality from our American allies in their assessments of the Czech Republic. Recently I have the feeling that if anything is increasing anti-American sentiments in society, it is criticism and recommendations such as these," Fiala said.
- Czech Republic: New play by the Theater of the Oppressed at "Festival of Humanity and Solidarity" this Friday
- Czech Human Rights Minister on International Romani Day: Quality education, more awareness of Romani culture, history, language all important
- Czech Human Rights Minister: We face a crisis fed by fear
- European Court of Human Rights: Freedom of speech does not include Holocaust denial
- AEDH calls on African and European leaders to put human rights at the center of migration policies
- Czech Human Rights Minister: Debt relief is a basic aspect of addressing social exclusion
- Czech Republic deporting Afghan family whose case came before the European Court of Human Rights
- Czech Human Rights Minister rejects notion that mayors can decide who will live in a municipality
- Human Rights Commissioner urges the Czech authorities to adopt bill on reparations for involuntary sterilisation of Roma women
- Czech Public Defender of Rights says human rights are being violated at the Bělá-Jezová detention facility
- Czech Human Rights Minister says EU allocating CZK 10 billion to inclusion
- Hollywood Reporter says "The Painted Bird", starring a Romani child actor, is among the 20 best films this year
- Czech Prosecutor General insists online hate speech is a felony, Supreme Court agrees
- Czech court says use of force in response to racist abuse was proportionate, prosecutor appeals
- Slovak homeowner considers selling to Roma, so his neighbors graffiti his house and puncture his tires
- Czech MP says his assistant's remark that refugees could be killed with machine guns does not bother him
- Czech court to try Islamophobes who attacked Muslim couple in a park last year
- Commentary: Truth vs. oligarchy, populism and xenophobia
- USA: Four-month-old Romani boy is youngest child to be separated from his parents at the border with Mexico
- Czech candidate shocked when online haters targeted her two-year-old
- Open Letter: Conveners of Holocaust commemoration are too quiet after politician disgraced it
- Czech doctor prioritizes registration of Romani patients and receives hateful threats from non-Roma
- Czech Republic: Romani family harassed by xenophobic neighbors with vulgar abuse and threats