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Czech Republic only accepting Christian refugees from Syria

Prague, 4.2.2015 0:58, (ROMEA)
The situation in Syria today is especially dramatic, where 6.5 million people are fleeing the civil war and another 2.5 million have already left the country. (Photo:  Facebook page of Help Syrian Refugees, 2014)
The situation in Syria today is especially dramatic, where 6.5 million people are fleeing the civil war and another 2.5 million have already left the country. (Photo: Facebook page of Help Syrian Refugees, 2014)

Mayor Jana Syslová of Červený Újezd (Teplice district) says she has a problem. Pavel Fousek, the owner of a camp facility previously used to house refugees there, is now accommodating socially vulnerable people, including ex-convicts and Romani people, on his property.  

The Czech state also says it has a problem:  It cannot accept any more Syrian refugees. One of the reasons is a lack of accommodation capacity.

Warnings

The campus of the former refugee camp used to serve as a barracks and did not become a refugee camp until 1990, when as many as 800 asylum-seekers from all over the world lived there. The grounds, surrounded by a high wall, feature four prefabricated apartment buildings and many smaller houses and were sold by the state in 2007.

A firm bought the facility for less than CZK 8 million and in 2013 opened up its Home on the Hill (Domov na kopci) complex for persons who are ill, who are senior citizens, or who are socially vulnerable. Seven Romani families currently live there, some of whom used to live in the town of Duchcov.  

A total of 90 people now occupy the complex. The mayor says that since they began living there, crime has risen in her community, and she is asking both the police and the Regional Authority for aid; she claims to have warned that such a situation would arise back when the state sold the camp facility.

Czech Republic used to accept more refugees

The number of facilities in the Czech Republic in which refugees live has been gradually declining along with the number of people seeking asylum here. In 2013, only 710 people sought asylum in this country.

The state owns two facilities for refugees today, compared to its original eight. Some have been sold, like the camp in Červený Újezd, while others have been leased to other agencies like the camp in Bělá, which today is a "detention facility for foreigners" (otherwise known as a prison) in bureaucratic terminology.  

"The current capacity of the Interior Ministry facilities for refugees is 700 people," complained Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec last December when explaining why it is impossible to receive a greater number of Syrian refugees here. The previous approach taken by the Czech Republic toward people fleeing places of wartime conflict, however, tells a different story,

During the wars in the former Yugoslavia there were 16 refugee camps and residential centers here with 10 000 refugees in them. The state also leased accommodation capacity when necessary.  

During the wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya, the Czech Republic received refugees in greater numbers than it does today and awarded them several different kinds of temporary residency. "In the past we were able, without any problems, to accept and accommodate a greater number of refugees and nobody much noticed," Magda Faltová, director of the Association for Integration and Migration (SIMI), told news server Romea.cz.

In 1998, 4 000 people sought asylum in the Czech Republic, with numbers rising to 11 000 in 2003. During the influx of Chechen refugees in 2001, there were 18 000 refugees living in this country, the vast majority of them in camps and centers owned by the Czech Interior Ministry Refugee Facilities Administration.

"If we could take in so many people back them, we should be able to do it again otday. Everyone knows that some of those Afghans, Bosnians, Chechens and Kosovans were also Muslims," Věra Roubalová, a social worker who used to visit the refugee camp at Červený Újezd, told news server Romea.cz.  

Roubalová also recalled that some of those Muslims, such as those from Afghanistan, were fleeing their homelands to escape Islamist fanatics in the Taliban. The Kosovan refugees including Romani people.

Czech Republic:  Only Christians need aid

The Czech Republic has decided to aid about 70 refugees from Syria, namely, children who need operations or other medical assistance and their families. The needy children were also chosen by the Czech Government according to religious criteria:  Their families had to be Christian.

The problem with the current state of the former camp at Červený Újezd and the problem with the Syrian refugees has been analyzed in connection with Czech President Miloš Zeman's recent visit to North Bohemia. News server Romea.cz will continue to report on Zeman's view of this issue, as well as the views of others.

František Kostlán, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Červený Újezd, Czech Republic, refugee, Sýrie



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