Statistics reveal a significant gender gap in pay, according to a report by the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry. The figures show that both in the private and public sector women make on average 17 percent less than men in similar positions. The gap is reportedly widest in the 40 to 50 age bracket, where women make on average 23,000 crowns a month, while men make on average 31,000 crowns.
Since its foundation in the early 1990s, the Prague-based Člověk v tísni, or People in Need, has become one of the biggest NGOs in Central Europe. Founding member Šimon Pánek has for many years been the organisation’s director, and when we met at People in Need’s HQ the other day the conversation touched on its targeting of aid, politics, international perception and plans for the future. But I first asked Pánek what for him had been its standout projects of the last 20 years-plus.
The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, has promised that his cabinet will deal with the issue of discrimination against the Roma minority in the Czech Republic, the news site novinky.cz reported. Mr. Sobotka made the pledge in a reply to a letter the government received from the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, Nils Muižnieks, who called for action to halt a growing number of anti-Roma demonstrations. The Czech leader said his cabinet would stand up to all forms of violence, hostility and discrimination, including “anti-gypsyism”. Mr. Sobotka said the government was preparing a national strategy on Roma integration that would be in place until 2020.
The police in south Bohemia are reported to have cracked down on a drug-smuggling ring operating at one of the Vietnamese open-air markets close to the border. A police spokeswoman said officers confiscated a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine with a street value of approximately one million crowns which was bound for Germany. The gang reportedly sold drugs to German and Austrian tourists and also smuggled drugs across the border themselves in small quantities. There is a nationwide search on for several members of the gang, but the gang leader – a woman – was reportedly detained in the crack-down.
Among the highlights of this year’s One World festival of human rights documentaries is God Loves Uganda, a gripping film revealing how right-wing Christians – including LGBT opponent Scott Lively – campaigned successfully for anti-gay legislation in the African state. Ian Willoughby spoke to the Oscar-winning director of God Loves Uganda, Roger Ross Williams, and asked him why the Kansas-based International Church of House of Prayer had targeted Uganda in particular.
Demonstrations against the Russian intervention in Crimea were held in four Czech cities over the weekend. The protests, held under the motto "For Your and Our Freedom", were staged in Prague, Brno, Plzen and Karlovy Vary, and were attended by Ukrainians and Russians living in the Czech Republic as well as Czechs concerned about the recent developments in Crimea. Among those who joined the protest in Prague was the former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg who said he felt the need to show solidarity with Ukraine in this this difficult time. He recalled that the Czechs experienced twice what the Ukrainians are experiencing today, making a reference to the German occupation in 1939 and the Soviet-led invasion in 1968.
The condition of a number of Ukrainian nationals, injured in recent
anti-government demonstrations in Kiev, has improved somewhat, according to
a spokesman. In all, 27 patients are being treated in Czech hospitals. Some
of the demonstrators – who came out against now deposed president Viktor
Yanukovich – had suffered broken shins, or facial injuries such as a
cracked eye socket.
Back in Ukraine, tensions are continuing to rise over the peninsula of Crimea and involvement by Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday asked his country’s upper house to approve the use of troops in Ukraine, allegedly to protect the lives of Russian citizens there. A day earlier, US President Barack Obama warned Russia not to interfere militarily in Ukraine.
Continuing discrimination and violence against Roma, domestic violence, failure to deal with cases of human trafficking and corruption are highlighted as black marks against the Czech Republic in the US state department’s annual survey of human rights in the world. Societal discrimination and violence against Roma was a problem last year with human rights organisations attacking the government’s failure to deal with it, the report said. Exploitation of illegal and migrant workers and discrimination against labour unions were also highlighted in the report. Attempts to stamp out abuses in the police and other forces were taken but areas of immunity persisted, it added.
The eyes of the world are on Ukraine where a new political leadership is forming in the aftermath of the bloody revolution that ousted former president Viktor Yanukovich from power. Czech MEP Libor Roucek is part of a European Parliament delegation currently negotiating with the key political players in Kiev. I spoke to Mr. Rouček over the phone on Monday and first enquired about the situation in the city.
Hundreds of Ukrainians living in the Czech Republic held a mass for the victims of the recent killings in their country at the top of Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Sunday. The crowd carried signs reading Stop Yanukovych and heard speeches condemning the actions of his now ousted government. Also on Sunday a concert in support of Ukraine was held on the Prague’s Náměstí Republiky; the event was free but attendees could send financial support by SMS to the NGO People in Need, which is organising aid for the strife-torn state.
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