Czech Republic to chair Council of Europe, claims human rights are a priority
The Czech Republic will take up the presidency of the Council of Europe on 19 May and says that it will emphasize human rights, the rule of law, support for democracy and education. Those priorities for the presidency have been approved by the Czech Government, according to a tweet by cabinet spokesperson Martin Ayrer.
The Council of Europe's Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland, recently met in Prague with officials to discuss the upcoming Czech presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) said after speaking with Jagland that it is an honor for the Czech Republic to hold the presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
The Czech Republic first held that position 22 years ago. "We will dedicate ourselves to the territorial problems that are frequently happening around us and are serious in countries such as Turkey, Ukraine, and elsewhere," the Foregin Minister said.
According to the country's top diplomat, the Czech Republic will also involve itself in the situation of the children who are to be found among migrants in Europe and the problems of people who have been displaced from their homelands. Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (ČSSD) said after meeting with Jagland that the next priorities of the Czech presidency should be democracy, equality between men and women, protecting human rights, and the rule of law.
Previously the Council of Europe has repeatedly reproached the Czech Republic because of discrimination against the Romani minority. The most frequently-mentioned point in its criticism is the exclusion of Romani children from mainstream education and their enrollment into the "practical" schools.
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