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Uhl leaves Govt Human Rights Council, also over Cunek case

Prague, 20.4.2007 20:01, (CTK)

Petr Uhl, a well-known former Czechoslovak pre-November 1989 dissident, told CTK today that he has left the Czech Government Human Rights Council also over what he called "xenophobic stands of Deputy PM Jiri Cunek."

Uhl was the council's member from early 2006.

Cunek, chairman of the junior ruling Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), deputy PM, local development minister and senator, aroused the first wave of criticism last autumn when, in his capacity as mayor of Vsetin, north Moravia, he had tens of Romany families moved out from a local dilapidated house to new container-like flats on the town outskirts and some even elsewhere in Moravia.

In a TV programme he said that Vsetin is getting rid of an ulcer this way.

The most recently Cunek irritated Czech Romanies when he said that if one wants social benefits from the state, he/she must get sunburnt and make a mess at squares.

Cunek later asserted that he aimed his words at politicians, not at Romanies.

Uhl said that he has departed from the council also because the government has withdrawn from its agenda two proposals the human rights council submitted.

One concerned the establishment of a special body to enquire into police officers' offences, which are now dealt with by the Interior Minister's Inspection.

International organisations, too, have recommended that the Czech Republic found an independent institution to deal with unlawful actions of policemen.

The other proposal suggested that the government change the statutes of the government councils and working groups so that the bodies include more women.

"The government has breached its order of procedure and the Human Rights Council's statutes, and showed disrespect of its advisory bodies," Uhl said.

He said that he would withdraw from the committee against torture for the same reasons.

Since March 1, Uhl has also been a member of the interim board of the EC's fundamental rights agency. He said he would not care about the post if Cunek remained in government.

Apart from Cunek's KDU-CSL, the centre-right government comprises the Civic Democrats (ODS) of PM Mirek Topolanek and the Greens (SZ) of Martin Bursik.

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Czech republic, Xenofobní výroky Jiřího Čunka



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