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Czechs more generous with asylum seekers than state - poll

Prague, 2.2.2007 11:48, (CTK)

Most Czechs would be more generous with asylum seekers than Czech authorities, according to a poll conducted by the polling institute STEM on the order of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and released today.

They are ready to grant them asylum not only for political, religious and racial reasons, but also if they suffer from war and poverty.

The poll was conducted among 1600 Czechs.

Czechs are most often for the granting of asylums to the foreigners from war-torn countries. This is approved of by 82 percent of those polled.

However, according to the Czech law, displaced persons whose situation was caused by the war are not entitled to asylum.

Roughly one-half of Czechs would agree with granting asylum to the people from poor and politically unstable countries.

Some 70 percent of Czechs would grant asylum to the people persecuted at home due to their political views, religious belief, race or ethnic group.

The Czech Republic allowed stay to 84,367 people from abroad between 1990 and the end of last year. A mere 3085 of them were granted asylum.

In recent years, there was a fall in the number of Czechs who estimated the number of accepted asylum seekers at thousands or tens of thousands annually. In 2002, there were almost two-thirds of them, now it is only one-third.

"A large part of those polled has realised that the number of granted asylums is low and estimate it rather realistically," the researchers said.

Czechs believe that asylum is most often sought by Ukrainians. Their surmise is confirmed by the statistical figures of the asylum and migration policy department of the Interior Ministry. It says that Ukrainians accounted for roughly one-fifth of asylum seekers, thus becoming the most numerous group.

Although Czechs are more generous than the state in the approach to asylum seekers, few of them would tolerate a refugee camp near their home.

The idea is rejected by two-thirds of those polled.

Some three-fifths of Czechs are of the view that refugees should only stay in the Czech Republic until the situation in their country calms down. A mere 18 percent would allow the refugees to stay in the Czech Republic forever. Only 12 percent of Czechs have personally met refugees, the poll found.

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