Czech Senate passes anti-discrimination law
The Czech Senate today passed without any changes the anti-discrimination bill whose adoption is demanded by the EU under the threat of sanctions.
The legislation is to provide equal access to education, work, health care and social benefits irrespective of age, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, health defect, religious and opinion.
Its critics are afraid of abuse of the rights. They had their reservations placed in the resolution that accompanies the bill.
It says that the Senate does not "identify with the character of the legislation that artificially encroaches upon the natural development of society, does not respect cultural differences of EU countries and places the demand of equality over the principle of freedom of choice."
The law was opposed by senators for the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), while the opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) and senators elected for the Open Democracy Club were for it.
It was also supported by ombudsman Otakar Motejl who promised that he would not allow any abuse of the law.
"The bill is basically the most necessary thing that must be incorporated by the Czech Republic as a member of the EU into its legal order," Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil (ODS) said.
The Czech Republic ought to have passed the law when it joined the EU.
It is the last EU member to have passed it.
Pospisil said the European Commission had led four proceedings with the Czech Republic due to the law.
If the law were not passed, the Czech Republic would be fined 100 million crowns until the time when its attitude were changed, he added.
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