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Czech human rights NGOs say politicians have long devalued human rights protections

Prague, 7.8.2014 20:51, (ROMEA)
Czech Minister for Human Rights, Equal Opportuntities and Legislation Jiří Dienstbier (PHOTO: Petr Vilgus, Wikimedia)
Czech Minister for Human Rights, Equal Opportuntities and Legislation Jiří Dienstbier (PHOTO: Petr Vilgus, Wikimedia)

The Platform for Human Rights and other human rights organizations have turned to Czech MPs and cabinet ministers asking them to express their support for the work of the Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Legislation Minister. The Platform emphasizes that a basic prerequisite for the functioning of a democratic, free society is the active, "pervasive" protection of human rights.

News server Romea.cz publishes the Platform's press release below in full:

Human rights are important and their enforcement can be a lot of work

Human rights organizations support the work of the Minister for Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Legislation

Recently Czech politics has experienced a test of its level of respect. Through this open letter, the Platform for Human Rights and other human rights organizations are turning to MPs and cabinet ministrs to express our support for the work of the Minister for Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Legislation.

The Platform brings together 50 organizations from the academic and civic sectors as well as publicly active figures and other organizations that are gradually joining this call as well. The initiative is represented by Linda Sokačová, director of Alternativa 50+, a public benefit corporation that aids people who are just before retirement age with accessing the labor market.   

"Just because someone disagrees with some of the proposals put forward by the Minister for Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Legislation does not mean the human rights agenda needs to be disparaged as a whole. I hope every politician in our country is aware of the essential significance of human rights to a democratic society," Sokačová says.  

The Government, led by Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka, decided to establish the position of a Minister for Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Legislation, making it unequivocally clear that protection for human rights and freedoms is important to it. Civil society evaluates the creation of this post as a very positive development.  

Members of civil society appreciate having a partner in the Goverment to address the knotty topics that Czech society is currently grappling with. A segment of this country's political representatives has long devalued human rights protections, reducing them only to the bare minimum necessary - in other words, they believe that if we have a democratic political order, then that will automatically ensure the protection of human rights, which means any other active support for such protections is completely unnecessary.  

Human rights defenders are being labeled "human-rightists" and "pseudohumanists" here and are being characterized as incapable of seeing reality. The Platform for Human Rights emphasizes that a basic prerequisite for the functioning of a democratic, free society is the active, "pervasive" protection of human rights.

As a democratic society, we must be willing to accept that the active protection of human rights and freedoms is a never-ending process. Nonprofit human rights organizations are in daily, direct contact with the people whose rights are often violated.

To call the Minister for Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Legislation a minister "without a job" is perceived by the nonprofit sector defending the interests of the needy not just as contempt for human rights per se, but also as contempt for the most vulnerable and weakest among us, such as children, people living with disabilities, and senior citizens, who often are unable to defend themselves against wrongdoing. Without the Human Rights Minister, the voices of such people would have a hard time being heard in the Government.  

This letter is supported by:

Platforma pro lidská práva (Platform for Human Rights)

František Kostlán, Jana Smiggels Kavková and Lucie Otáhalová

Institutions and organizations supporting this initiative:

Alternativa 50+, o.p.s. (Linda Sokačová)

Česká ženská lobby (Czech Women's Lobby)

Ekumenicka akademie, z. s. (Jiří Silný)

Fórum 50%, o.p.s.

Inbáze, o.s. (Alexandr Zpěvák)

IQ Roma servis, o.s. (Katarína Klamková)

META, o.p.s. - Společnost pro příležitosti mladých migrantů (Zuzana Vodňanská)

Modrá beruška - komunitní centrum rodičů a dětí s poruchou autistického spektra (Eva Honková)

MOST PRO o.p.s. (Kateřina Kotrlá)

Multikulturní centrum Praha (Marek Čaněk)

Organizace pro pomoc uprchlíkům, o.s. (Martin Rozumek)

Otevřená společnost, o.p.s. (Open Society)

Poradna pro občanství, občanská a lidská práva, o. s. (Mirek Dvořák)

Prague Pride (Czeslaw Walek)

ROMEA, o.p.s. (Zdeněk Ryšavý)

Rytmus – od klienta k občanovi, o.p.s. (Pavla Baxová)

Za sklem o.s. (Marta Pečeňová)

The Czech Women's Lobby is a network of non-governmental, non-profit organizations defending the rights of women in the Czech Republic. It is part of the European Women's Lobby network. The Czech Women's Lobby includes the following organizations: 

Aliance žen s rakovinou prsu (Alliance of Women with Breast Cancer)

Aperio

Asociace podnikatelek a manažerek (Association of Women Entrepreneurs and Managers)

Business and Professional Women Praha II

Česká asociace dul (Czech Dula Association)

Česká konfederace porodních asistentek (Czech Confederation of Midwives)

Český helsinský výbor (Czech Helsinki Committee)

Český svaz žen (Czech Women's Union)

Evropská kontaktní skupina (European Contact Group)

Fórum 50 %

Gender Studies, o.p.s.

Hnutí za aktivní mateřství (Movement for Active Motherhood)

Klub K2

Slovo 21 - Manushe

Národní kontaktní centrum - ženy a věda (National Contact Center - Women and Science)

NESEHNUTÍ Brno

Oddělení Gender & sociologie Sociologického ústavu Akademie věd ČR, v.v.i. (Gender & Sociology Department of the Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences)

Otevřená společnost (Open Society)

Pomoc v nouzi, o.p.s. (Emergency Assistance)

Porodní dům "U Čápa" ("At the Stork" Birthing Center)

proFem

Rodinné centrum PEXESO (PEXESO Family Center)

ROSA o.s.

UNIPA

Ženský web (Women's Web) 


press release of the Platform for Human Rights, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Jiří Dienstbier, lidská práva, Platforma pro lidská práva, Poslanecká sněmovna, Vláda



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