Czech Govt Human Rights Commissioner steps down
Czech Radio reported today that Czech Human Rights Commissioner Martina Štěpánková is resigning from her post at the end of March and from her other position as Deputy Minister administering the Human Rights Section at the Office of the Government. She has confirmed that information to the Czech News Agency.
Štěpánková said it was her decision to step down. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) told Czech Radio that a selection procedure will be announced for the post and that the first round of selection will be internal.
The Human Rights Commissioner position was revived last year by the second Babiš Government. Štěpánková, a lawyer, was appointed in June.
During the previous administration, the Government of Bohuslav Sobotka (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) had appointed a Human Rights Minister. During the first years of the Sobotka administration that cabinet-level post was held by Jiří Dienstbier (ČSSD), who chose Štěpánková as his deputy.
After Jan Chvojka (ČSSD) replaced Dienstbier as minister, Štěpánková remained the deputy, including after the Babiš Government cancelled the cabinet-level post. Prior to joining the Office of the Government, Štěpánková worked for the Counselling Center for Civil and Human Rights, an NGO.
The Human Rights Commissioner's agenda involves human rights, the issue of the Romani minority and other national minorities, nonprofit organizations, equal opportunities, and the rights of people living with disabilities. The Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion is also part of that agenda.
The Commissioner is also the Vice-Chair of the relevant Government advisory bodies chaired by the PM. Some of those advisory bodies have recently garnered criticism due to their lack of activity.
Czech Radio quoted the Czech Public Defender of Rights, Anna Šabatová, in that regard. Šabatová noted that the Czech Government Human Rights Council, of which she is an official member, has not convened for a year and a half.
The PM told Czech Radio that he is still the chair there and that it will convene on 12 March. The first round of the selection proceeding for the position of Deputy Minister for Human Rights was announced by the State Secretary of the Office of the Government on 18 February.
Applications can be submitted until the end of the month. The candidate must have completed a Master's degree, hold Czech citizenship or citizenship of an EU country, speak English, and have gained a security clearance for working with classified information.
Academics or persons who have worked for several years in either Czech or European authorities and institutions are able to apply. The United Nations delivered recommendations to the Czech Republic in November 2017 about its human rights record as part of its Universal Periodic Review process (UPR).
The recommendations were to improve the integration of Romani people into society, combating Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia, and continuing the country's efforts to achieve equality between men and women. The UPR also called on the Czech Government to compensate the victims of forced sterilization.
Some UN countries also expressed appreciation for the progress the country has made recently on integrating children with "disadvantages" into education, as well as the agreement to buy out the pig farm at Lety u Písku on the site of the former concentration camp for Romani people so as to create a dignified memorial there. Most previous Governments in the Czech Republic since 1993 have had a Human Rights Commissioner.
The position was first established in 1998. Prior to Štěpánková it had been held by five men and one other woman.
- Czech courts definitively acquit publisher of Salafist book of promoting a movement against human rights
- Complaint against racist election campaign in Czech town heads to the European Court of Human Rights
- US Embassy in Prague gives human rights award to Magdalena Karvayová for helping Romani children access quality education
- Czech Human Rights Commissioner: Human rights not considered important enough, critique of nonprofits is problematic
- Czech court finds author of death threats against human rights defenders committed a politically-motivated hate crime
- Czech Foreign Minister Petříček wants a foreign policy that advocates for human rights
- Czech Govt Human Rights Commissioner says she will criticize politicians who are racist and resign rather than be censored
- Czech Government revives position of Human Rights Commissioner
- Czech Justice Minister leaving politics because most of his fellow ANO members hold different opinions about human rights
- Czech Justice Minister now in charge of human rights agenda, but will he join the next Government?
- Former Czech Human Rights Minister says the entire country should campaign against denial of Romani genocide
- Czech presidential candidate criticizes cancellation of Human Rights Minister post
- Human rights agenda, including Agency for Social Inclusion and Hate Free Culture, now under Czech Justice Minister
- Čeněk Růžička receives human rights prize from the US Ambassador to the Czech Republic for his contribution to Romani Holocaust recognition
- Czech NGOs call on incoming PM not to jettison cabinet post for human rights
- Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner welcomes Czech Govt purchase of pig farm on Romani genocide site
- Commentary: Czech PM fishing for votes in a racist/xenophobic pond
- Czech organizations insist the lower house and Prime Minister reject the anti-Romani remarks of the ombudsman
- Czech Pirates criticize Govt report on education of Romani children for not reflecting COVID-19 impact and lack of access to distance learning
- Czech Govt Human Rights Commissioner expects new Roma strategy to be adopted by the end of January
- Romani women call on Czech MPs to take the first step toward compensating forcibly, illegally sterilized persons, 150 figures support them
- Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner: I support the creation of a Government Commissioner for Romani Minority Affairs
- Czech town ordered to pay Romani residents evicted in 2006, may appeal
- Former Czech ombudswoman running for Senate on a platform of justice, in the broadest possible sense
- Slovak Govt Plenipotentiary for Roma: We don't want closed settlements, testing residents for COVID-19 will prevent repressive measures
- Slovakia: New Plenipotentiary for Roma to be Andrea Bučková
- Slovakia to have a new Plenipotentiary for Roma, MEP wants it to be a Romani person
- Czech town puts "container housing" for Romani-inhabited locality on hold, former ombudswoman recommended cancelling it altogether