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August 18, 2019
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Former Culture Minister joins Czech Government Human Rights Council

25.7.2019 7:09
Daniel Herman (PHOTO: Richard Samko)
Daniel Herman (PHOTO: Richard Samko)

Deník N reports that former Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats - KDU-ČSL) has joined the Czech Government Human Rights Council. His nomination, which was proposed by Human Rights Commissioner Helena Válková (ANO), was approved by the cabinet on Monday.

Herman is replacing the philosopher Daniel Kroupa, who resigned at the end of April after Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) announced that Válková, who is herself a former Justice Minister, would be nominated as Human Rights Commissioner. She proposed Herman for the Human Rights Council at the close of May.

"The nomination has been on Babiš's desk since then and was signed by the Prime Minister after more than a month," Deník N reports. Válková has welcomed the approval of Herman's membership.

The Human Rights Commissioner said she explained the delay by the PM having to address the Government crisis and the audits by the European Commission about his alleged conflicts of interest. Herman's presence, in her view, will reinforce the weight of the Human Rights Council.

"As far as the issues of social inclusion, the prisons, and endangered children go, for example, I am glad I will be able to rely on his experience," she said. Herman also said membership on the Human Rights Council corresponds to his human rights work to date, which is now receiving "a kind of blessing from the Government."

Herman said he wants to focus in this role especially on subjects associated with Romani culture, the Romani minority, and the persecution of members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement and Christians by the Chinese regime. Kroupa, whom Herman is replacing, said he had decided to resign because, in his view, whoever leads the Government's advisory body on human rights should be somebody involved in defending human rights who has either worked in the field long-term or is a respected figure, and he does not believe Válková fulfills either condition.

"The Government of Mr Babiš, by appointing this person, has made it clear it has no interest in dispassionately, impartially assessing [human rights] issues. I don't want to be part of it," the Charter 77 signatory said.

Válková rejected that assessment, saying she has experience in the field and that time would show how she would be assessed in the Human Rights Commissioner post. The Czech Government Human Rights Council is a permanent advisory body to Government ministers in the field of protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The council is comprised of representatives of state institutions, civil society and professional associations, and the academic community. It is currently chaired by the PM and Válková is the executive vice-chair.

ČTK, voj, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Lidská práva, Vláda, Zmocněnec, Andrej Babiš



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