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Czech president of lower house says Public Defender of Rights was unable to justify his recent unprecedented decisions to the Committee on Petitions

8.7.2022 12:52
Czech Public Defender of Rights Stanislav Křeček on 24 June 2022 in the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. (PHOTO:  Senát PČR)
Czech Public Defender of Rights Stanislav Křeček on 24 June 2022 in the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. (PHOTO: Senát PČR)

The Czech Public Defender of Rights, Stanislav Křeček, attended a session of the Committee on Petitions in the Chamber of Deputies today and, according to the president of the lower house and chair of the TOP 09 party, MP Markéta Pekarová Adamová, he did not sufficiently justify why he has decided to revoke the agendas previously assigned to Deputy Public Defender of Rights Monika Šimůnková. Pekarová Adamová has tweeted her assessment of the meeting. 

The vice-president of the Chamber of Deputies, MP Olga Richterová (Pirates), has also said Křeček provided no provable, specific reproaches about how the Deputy Public Defender of Rights has been doing her job to the committee. The Czech News Agency is contacting other members of the committee for their comments. 

"Today, at the Committee on Petitions in the Chamber of Deputies, Mr Křeček, the ombudsman, was incapable of sufficiently justifying his unprecedented moves. He also did not explain how he attempted to forestall this outcome," the president of the lower house tweeted.  

The Committee on Petitions will continue on Wednesday and Šimůnková will attend, according to Pekarová Adamová. MP Richterová has tweeted the following:  "From my perspective, no specific, provable reproaches about the deputy's work were submitted."

"We will see how the others who were present assess it. Ms Šimůnková will attend a similar discussion next week," Richterová tweeted.    

Křeček has taken the agenda away from Šimůnková and alleged that "complications" of a managerial and personal nature have accompanied her work; she has said that she plans to ask the Chamber of Deputies to review that decision. She is also considering a lawsuit over some of Křeček's remarks about her. 

Šimůnková considers the decision to withdraw the agenda to be an unprecedented interference with the Deputy Public Defender of Rights position and as the culmination of longstanding problems between herself and Křeček. The two have disagreed, for example, on the issue of fathers being allowed to be present in delivery rooms during the birth of their children in hospitals, or parents being allowed to stay with their hospitalized children.

Křeček has led the Office of the Public Defender of Rights since February 2020. The Senate has recently called on him to stop making racist, xenophobic remarks, finding in a resolution that he is doing damage to the office of the ombudsman. 

The senators also called on Křeček to behave courteously toward Šimůnková. The law on the Public Defender of Rights establishes that the holder of that post is able to entrust the Deputy Public Defender of Rights with executing some of the activities of the office. 

Křeček has said that in an attempt to "stabilize" the functioning of the institution, he will no longer be taking advantage of the opportunity to entrust the Deputy Public Defender of Rights with some of the agenda. The decision to revoke all of the agendas previously entrusted to Šimůnková took effect on 1 July.

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Monika Šimůnková, Ombudsman, Racism, Sněmovna



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