The opposition TOP 09 party plan to submit a resolution calling on the
government to take in 50 Syrian orphans from refugee camps. They will put
the matter to the lower house on Wednesday. The party’s Markéta
Pekarová Adamová said a civilised country should be capable of making
such a symbolic humanitarian gesture.
The move comes after Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said he was not prepared to take in any such orphans, arguing that children should be helped in the places they come from. Mr. Babiš recently said he would not accept “a single refugee”.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has come under fire for outright rejecting a proposal to take in 50 Syrian orphans – or even a single refugee until the EU secures its borders. In an interview published on Saturday, he said the Czech Republic had demonstrated its solidarity in other, meaningful ways and has its orphans to worry about.
Czech MEP Michaela Šojdrová of the Christian Democrats, has asked for a
meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to try to persuade him that the
Czech Republic should take in 50 Syrian orphans from a migrant camp in
Šojdrová, who first floated the idea, said that taking in child migrants would be a show of solidarity.
Prime Minister Babiš, who is strictly against taking in migrants, sharply rejected the idea at the weekend saying the Czech Republic was ready to help these and other orphans in their country of origin, where the migrant crisis should be resolved.
His stand elicited strong criticism from opposition parties who called it selfish and inhumane. Even his coalition partner, acting foreign minister Jan Hamáček from the Social Democrats, said a country of 10 million should be able to accommodate 50 orphans.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has come under fire on the domestic
scene for refusing to take in a group of 50 Syrian orphans. Babiš told the
daily Právo he saw no reason why the country should help Syrian orphans
when it had orphans of its own to look after.
He said the Czech Republic was showing sufficient solidarity with the countries of migrant origin by sending them money, doctors and experts.
Acting foreign minister Jan Hamáček of the Social Democrats countered that a country of 10 million could surely be able to cope with 50 Syrian orphans.
Opposition politicians from TOP 09, the Christian Democratic Party and Mayors and Independents said the prime minister’s statement was shameful and inhumane.
Czech diplomats have negotiated the release of two workers for a German non-governmental organization who were being held in Syria. The two men, one of whom is a German national, were handed over to Czech Foreign Minister Jan Hamáček in Damascus and flown to Prague where they were met by representatives of their respective embassies.
Czechs have been in the forefront of worldwide attempts to save Syria’s significant archaeological heritage. The Czech National Museum has been one of the major players in those moves and on Wednesday it opened an exhibition in Prague outlining what has been lost and what has been saved during the country’s civil war.
The air strikes against military targets in Syria carried out by US, UK and France in the wake of a recent chemical attack on civilians in the Syrian city of Douma have divided the Czech political scene. While the government endorsed the attack, the president and some opposition parties denounced it as aggressive and unacceptable.
The United States have thanked the Czech Republic for supporting the
strikes on Syria carried out by the US, Britain and France on Saturday
night, the Foreign Ministry told the Czech News Agency on Sunday.
Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický on Saturday night spoke on the phone with US acting US Secretary of State John Sullivan, who informed him about the details of the attack. Mr Sullivan also told Mr Stropnický that considered the Czech Republic a reliable ally.
The US, UK and France have carried out air and missile strikes in Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack last Saturday.
Defence Minister Karla Šlechtová called an emergency meeting of the
National Security Council over the situation in Syria on Saturday. She said
after the meeting that the country's security was not threatened by
Ms Šlechtová said after the meeting that the US, UK and France have clearly shown that the use of chemical weapons can not be tolerated and that the consequences of attack on civilians have been minimized. She also said that the Czech soldiers taking part at the UN peace mission in the Golan Heights and the Czechs working at the embassy in Damascus were safe.
The Czech government responded in favor of the strike on Syria launched by
the US, Britain and France. The attack sends a clear message to those who
do not shy away from using chemical weapons, the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs said in a press release on Saturday morning.
Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický also confirmed on that as NATO ally the Czech Republic had been informed about the attack, although he didn't specify whether he was informed of the attack in advance. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said the attack on Syria had been inevitable, emphasizing the Czech Republic clear stance against the use of chemical weapons.
The presidential office, on the other hand, condemned the attack and accused certain media and non-governmental organizations of supporting the war.