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December 3, 2020

 

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Czech lower house refuses to discuss dismissal of Government Human Rights Commissioner

22.1.2020 18:09
The Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic.
The Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic.

Yesterday the opposition did not manage to convince the lower house to discuss whether the current Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner should remain in the job. The addition of that extraordinary agenda item was proposed by MPs from TOP 09, who are calling on the Government to dismiss Helena Válková from the post.

Those who voted against the motion were MPs from the Association of Dissatisfied Citizens (ANO), the Communists, the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) movement and three Social Democrats. "The post of Human Rights Commissioner should be held by a morally strong person with consistent opinions and a clear attitude toward human rights," said the chair of TOP 09, Czech MP Markéta Pekarová Adamová, in her motion.

According to the TOP 09 chair, the information about the Human Rights Commissioner's past that recently came to light does not indicate that she has those qualities. "Daniel Kroupa left the Human Rights Council a year ago to protest against her appointment, and two more members left the council last week. The Committee of Roma Regional Representatives also spoke against her remaining in office and coordinator Renata Köttnerová resigned her position on the Government Council for the Roma Minority," Pekarová added, calling on the government to face the problem and dismiss Válková as soon as possible.

In addition to ANO, the Communists, and the SPD voting against the motion, it was also not supported by ex-Culture Minister Antonín Staněk, by the vice-chair of the Chamber of Deputies Tomáš Hanzel, and by Czech MP Jaroslav Foldyna, all from the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD), which otherwise criticizes Válková. The head of ANO's club in the lower house, Czech MP Jaroslav Faltýnek, called the subject closed.

Válková is being criticized because of her academic collaboration in the late 1970s with the prosecutor in the show trial of Milada Horáková in 1950, Josef Urválek, work that defended the institution of protective surveillance, which was abused by the communist regime to bully dissidents. She is also being reproached for the attitude toward Romani people presented in another academic work she co-authored in the 1980s.

Die, psp.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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ANO, Helena Válková, Sněmovna, zmocněnkyně pro lidská práva



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