Czech Senator Čunek chairing Senate Subcommittee on Human Rights
Czech Senator Jiří Čunek has been appointed chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Human Rights and Equal Opportunity, which some may find a surprising choice. The appointment took place on 6 December when the Senate approved the change. Čunek will now take over the subcommittee, replacing former chair Miluše Horská, who has been elected Vice-Chair of the Senate.
Čunek lost his own bid for the Vice-Chair post. Paradoxically, what bothered the senators in relation to appointing him Vice-Chair - his often anti-Romani, controversial statements, his scandals and suspicions about him - did not bother them when it came to his leading the Subcommittee on Human Rights. According to earlier resolutions, any senator who has been involved in the issue of human rights and equal opportunity or who is interested in this topic can become a member of the subcommittee, which some of Senator Čunek's colleagues evidently believe is true in his case. Experts from the public may also be awarded the status of permanent guest members.
The subcommittee meets at least six times annually. The current list of its members will not be known until after they are registered, which will happen this month.
Following the previous example of Czech Senator Liana Janáčková, Čunek is becoming yet another senator whose membership on this subcommittee rather diminishes respect for it and its work. He has long been criticized for his controversial approach toward the Romani minority and first gained notoriety with respect to this issue when he expelled Romani families from the town of Vsetína into other municipalities entirely. This criticism, together with the scandal of litigation against him, influenced the Senate not to elect him its Vice-Chair. Former Constitutional Court Justice Eliška Wágnerová, now a senator, recently resigned from the Senate's Club for the Renewal of Democracy because of the unacceptable opinions of its members, specifically, Senator Čunek and Senator Tomio Okamura.
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