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Czech Public Defender of Rights says 11 % of the population encounters discrimination

22.1.2016 22:48
Anna Šabatová on the program
Anna Šabatová on the program "Questions with Václav Moravec"", 23 February 2014 (Photo: Czech Television)

The Office of the Public Defender of Rights issued a press release today reporting that discrimination is directly experienced by 11 % of the population of the Czech Republic, usually when seeking work or directly in the workplace. The most frequent problem is discrimination due to people being middle-aged or older.

Victims of discrimination in the Czech Republic do not believe they might be able to actively defend their rights and achieve justice. Frequently they have no idea where to turn when they are in a crisis involving discrimination.

Those are the results of an extensive, representative survey that the Public Defender of Rights, Anna Šabatová, commissioned during 2015 using a sample of 2 079 respondents. The respondents were asked what type of discrimination they believe is the most widespread in the country.

People most frequently mentioned discrimination on the basis of either ethnic or racial origin. That kind of discrimination was mentioned as "somewhat or very widespread" by 65 % of respondents.

Only 8 % of respondents characterized that kind of discrimination as "quite infrequent". The survey also found that ethnic origin or race was the cause of discrimination for 7 % of those who claimed to have personally encountered discrimination, out of a sample that roughly corresponded to the composition of the population of the Czech Republic.

It follows from these results that people perceive the existence of this form of disadvantage even when it does not happen to them personally. When asked whether they had encountered discrimination when seeking employment, 66 % of respondents said they had.

A total of 38 % of respondents complained of similar difficulties directly in the workplace. When buying goods or services, the survey found that 21 % of respondents report encountering various forms of discrimination, while 18 % of respondents said they encountered discrimination in health care.

Part of the research included asking judges and representatives of the state administration whether the Public Defender of Rights should have the option of filing lawsuits on behalf of the public in discrimination cases. A total of 65 % of those professionals support the Public Defender of Rights having such powers.

Next Tuesday the Chamber of Deputies will embark upon a second reading of the amendment to the law on the Public Defender of Rights that would expand its powers to protect the public from discrimination. "Given the low number of lawsuits filed to date in the area of discrimination I am pleasantly surprised by these results... It is only when we have better-developed case law on this issue that victims of discrimination will have a greater degree of security and be able to predict their chances of successfully suing," Šabatová said, adding that currently concerns over the uncertain results of litigation deter victims of discrimination from going to court. 

ČTK, voj, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Diskriminace, Ombudsman, Výzkum, Zaměstnávání



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