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August 12, 2020



Czech ombud candidate Křeček: Minority rights are getting too much attention

Prague, 13.2.2014 23:06, (ROMEA)

News server presents the translation in full of the speech given by Stanislav Křeček, candidate for the post of the Public Defender of Rights, to the Czech lower house today:

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,

Two years ago, standing at this spot in this Chamber of Deputies, I expressed a certain skepticism toward the speeches being made here and I quoted a long-term member of the British lower house who once said, "I have heard many beautiful speeches in this chamber, some of which have moved me to tears, but I have never heard a speech that would change the results of a vote."

It is with a certain embarrassment, therefore, that you must permit me to make two remarks on the most serious topic we are discussing today, and that is the topic of human rights. I would like to discuss two facts which are completely obvious all over Europe these days, but which we very often forget. 

Primarily I would like to draw your attention to the fact that people will not permit the exercise of rights without the simultaneous exercise of obligations and responsibilities. Perhaps it once was the case that it seemed that rights would be free, that they would not entail any obligations, but that's not how it is.

The situation in society, including the economic situation, is such that people simply will not permit rights to be implemented without obligations or responsibilities. You know this better than I do.

Maybe you don't realize it, but you are the first politicians to be telling people that they are not going to be better off in the future. That has never existed until now.

Politicians have always said "you'll be better off, and if not you, then your children will". Today, however, no one can say that.

This is a very important change in our understanding of human rights. The second fact that few of us realize is that we are slowly transitioning away from the universal concept of human rights for everyone into the implementation of rights just for minorities, just for certain people. 

No one is interested in rights for everyone anymore - we are concentrating only on the rights of minorities. The most intimate human right, that people are supposed to live in some sort of relative sufficiency with a satisfied family life, that greatest of human rights, is not even considered a human right at all, but is just considered the result of a person's economic activity, not a human right.

Meanwhile, the rights of two female students who were told they could not wear scarves on their heads during instruction at the medical school here in Pankrác were recently discussed at an international conference in Paris. General rights do not interest us much anymore.

Naturally, this leads to the destabilization of society and to the rise of extremism all over Europe. If a person says he is dissatisfied with being unable to sleep because his next-door neighbor is raising hell, only to find himself labeled an extremist and a racist, or if a person who believes that a child should have not just a father but a mother as well is then labeled an idiot who doesn't understand where the world is heading, well, such people won't feel very good in society - even if they don't applaud the extremists in the streets, at the very least they will be in a bad mood, in the "stupid mood" as we call it in our country.  

Politicians no longer understand people. Here I would like to quote a beautiful statement by one of the bishops of Brazil, who recently said, "When I give people food on the street, politicians call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."

Ladies and gentlemen, I don't want to live in a society like that. I do not want to contribute toward creating it and I think the ombudsman shouldn't either - I don't want such a state of affairs to come about, and I hope you understand what I mean.

Stanislav Křeček, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Extremism, human rights, Ombudsman, Poslanecká sněmovna, Racism, Menšiny


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