Czech Human Rights Minister: We do not want the fascisization of society
Today in Prague two demonstrations are underway those opposed to receiving refugees in the Czech Republic. At 15:00 an assembly began at the statue of St. Václav and at 17:00 a "People's Camp" of right-wing extremists began demanding the immediate closure of the borders and the withdrawal of the Czech Republic from the EU.
Czech Minister for Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Legislation Jiří Dienstbier said yesterday that he anticipates hate speech and symbols at both demonstrations. "We do not want the fascisization of society in the Czech Republic," he said in a press release that news server Romea.cz publishes below in full translation:
Statement of Jiří Dienstbier, Minister for Human Rights, Equal Opportunties and Legislation, on Saturday's hate demonstrations
Tomorrow in Prague there will be demonstrations against refugees. As recently happened, we can once again expect them to involve hate speech and symbols.
I hope the Police of the Czech Republic and Prague City Hall will supervise the strict observance of the law this time and not facilitate the espousal of hatred against any group. We do not want the fascisization of society in the Czech Republic.
Calling for hatred and threatening people with gallows is completely unacceptable in a democratic country. Such behavior is a clear signal to the academic community, to all of civil society, and to politicians across the spectrum that we must fundamentally reject such speech and the exploitation of difficult topics by those whose desire is to cheaply win political support.
In many respects there is no clear, seriously-conducted debate in this country, whether about refugees or many other topics. Democratic politicians, primarily, must have the courage to discuss complex topics with the citizens of the Czech Republic, otherwise we will not successfully confront the growth of extremism here and protect our democracy.
In this context, I would like to express my appreciation for the efforts of every respectable politician who is aware of this responsibility and offers citizens not populist solutions, but real ones. That goes for well thought-out aid to refugees and the inclusion of each and every person into our society.
Integration policy is the only way to prevent the growth of these displays of hatred in the long run. Most refugees are fleeing out of desperation and fear for their lives and those of their loved ones, frequently from the violence of Islamist radicals.
Let's try to carry on the humanistic tradition of Czechoslovakia from the time of the First Republic, when we accepted refugees from countries that were not free. It is also good to recall that especially after 1948 and 1968, other countries accepted refugees from our country as well.
I do not underestimate citizens' fears, nor the security risks involved, and I understand it is necessary to discuss the forms of aid to be provided, but we should do so fairly and with an awareness of our legal and moral obligations. I appreciate all civic activities that approach this matter in that way.
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