The Czech Republic is not doing enough to address the problem of international homelessness, suggests the Prague-based Organisation for Aid for Refugees, which has just released the country’s first Stateless Index. Developed by the European Network on Statelessness, the annual index assesses how various countries protect stateless people and what they are doing to prevent and reduce the problem. I discussed the issue with lawyer Petr Baroch from the Organisation for Aid for Refugees:
Austrian police say they have detained 40 Afghan migrants on the
country’s northern border with the Czech Republic.
The daily Kronen Zeitung which reported the story said people smugglers were increasingly using routes through the Czech Republic to lead asylum seekers to their chosen destination. The forty migrants are all young men who have now filed for asylum in Austria.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his Czech counterpart Andrej Babis discussed problems relating to migration in Prague last week, emphasizing the need to curb illegal migration and strengthen the EU’s outer borders.
Customs officers have detained a Hungarian driver carrying three refugees
from Syria in his vehicle, the Czech customs authority’s spokeswoman
informed in a press release on Friday.
The driver, who was selected for a random check, ignored the customs officers’ instruction to stop. He was accused of assisting illegal border crossing.
The refugee support initiative Češi pomáhaji (Czechs help) has announced it has a list of around 200 Czech families who say they are willing to accept refugees currently stationed in Greek camps. At a press conference on Thursday they called on the Czech government to create a special interdepartmental group which would put the wheels in motion. However, the government says that its conditions have not yet been met by the Greek authorities.
A top European Union legal adviser Eleanor Sharpston says the Czech
Republic, Poland and Hungary have been breaking EU law by refusing to
comply with the EU’s migrant quota scheme.
In a legal opinion issued on Thursday, Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston said the three nations ‘failed to fulfil their obligations under EU law’ by not complying with the ‘provisional and time-limited mechanism for the mandatory relocation’ of people seeking international protection.
The European Commission in 2017 took the three nations to court for their refusal to take in asylum-seekers in line with the EC’s mandatory redistribution mechanism.
Although Mrs Sharpston’s opinion is not legally binding, such recommendations are usually followed by the European Court of Justice.
Czech police last year detained 4,992 foreigners in the country illegally,
254 more than in 2017. As in previous years, Ukrainians comprised the
largest group, according to a Ministry of the Interior report.
Nearly 1,500 Ukrainians were detained by the police in 2018. Large numbers of Moldovans, Vietnamese, Russians and Georgians illegally in the country were also detained.
Most had entered the country legally but exceeded their permitted stays or had expired visas, the Interior Ministry said. Some have done so repeatedly.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says the Czech Republic doesn’t want a new president of the European Commission that would bring back migrant quotas. As he left for a summit in Brussels, he also said he would not now be discussing a Commission audit finding him in conflict of interest with its outgoing chief.
European far-right leaders, including Marine Le Pen of France and Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, gathered in Prague on Thursday for private meetings and a public rally in support of Czech politician Tomio Okamura’s Freedom and Direct Democracy party, or the SPD. The fiercely anti-immigrant, Eurosceptic party is the fourth-largest in the Czech lower house and aims to win its first seats in the European Parliament in May.
The Czech police has arrested 12 foreign citizens and charged them with people smuggling. If convicted, the individuals could face up to 10 years in jail, Jaroslav Ibehej, spokesman for the National Centre for Combating Organised Crime (NCOZ), told the Czech News Agency on Friday. The suspects, all citizens of former Soviet countries, are believed to have belonged to an international group that focused on illegally smuggling migrants from Southeast Asia and providing them with false documents. The police spokesman says the group was destroyed through a combined effort of Czech, Polish, Slovak and Ukrainian police.