International human rights agency Amnesty International has criticized the
position taken by Czech politicians on refugees and immigrants.
In its latest report on human rights, Amnesty said politicians, including the president and minister of interior, made xenophobic remarks last year.
The report also criticised the country for the unequal access of Roma to education and the long running failure to buy out a pig farm at the site of a WWII Roma camp used by the Nazis. An agreement to buy out the farm has since been signed.
Former interior minister Milan Chovanec said the Czech position saved the country from the biggest waves of immigrants. The president’s spokesman denounced the report as insignificant nonsense.
The Czech Interior Ministry has granted asylum to eight Chinese Christians seeking protection in the country on the grounds of religious persecution. The requests of seventy other applicants were rejected. A lawyer representing the group of Chinese Christians has said she will advise them to appeal the decision.
For nearly 20 years, the Multicultural Centre Prague has been involved in promoting human rights and respect for cultural diversity. Their activities and projects focus on the social and economic advancement of migrants in the Czech Republic or inclusion of socially disadvantaged minorities. I met with the centre’s director Zuzana Schreiberová to discuss some of their activities, including a project called Prague Shared and Divided or the recently published Prague-Warsaw newspaper:
Czech police on Friday stopped two lorries carrying 35 foreigners,
including 13 children, on the D5 motorway heading towards the main western
border crossing with Germany at Rozvadov. According to police spokeswoman
Veronika Horková, the lorries came from Romania through Hungary and
The migrants, who most likely come from Eastern Europe, were placed in a detention centre and will be questioned to determine whether they have asked for asylum anywhere in Europe. The drivers of the lorries have also been detained on suspicion of people smuggling.
Jaroslava Doležalová has become an honorary citizen of her home town Žďár nad Sázavou. She hid a little Jewish girl during WW II and probably saved her life, risking her own and her husband's in the process. Hardly anybody knew about it for a very long time and it has only been brought to public attention now, more than seven decades later. So, Mrs. Doležalová in the 93rd year of her life receives well-deserved, even if long-delayed, accolades and praise. But her story also reveals something less praiseworthy about the Czech attitude toward
The Czech government will send some 225 million crowns (nearly nine million
euros) to the EU Trust Fund for Africa. The proposal was made by Interior
Minister Lubomír Metnar and approved by the cabinet on Wednesday. The
Czech donation should be used in Libya to improve medical services and ease
the return of immigrants to the country. The money should be delivered to
Libya by the end of February.
The EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa was established at the EU summit in Malta in 2015 to tackle the EU’s biggest ever migration crisis. The Czech Republic has previously donated more than 42 million crowns (around 1.6 million euros) to the fund.
Jiří Drahoš, challenger to incumbent president Miloš Zeman in the
second round of presidential elections, has stated that while he is against
a dictate from Brussels regarding the number of migrants the Czech Republic
should accept, he feels that the country is strong enough, both from the
administrative and security aspects, to take in a certain amount of
Mr. Drahoš made the statement in an interview for Novinky.cz. The incumbent president has a strong anti-migrant stance.
The Museum of Romani Culture will take over the former pig farm in Lety
near Písek, which stands at the site of a WWII Roma concentration camp, in
March, its spokesman announced in a press release on Tuesday.
After years of negotiations, the government last year finally agreed with the farm’s owner on a buyout for roughly 450 million crowns. A proper memorial to the victims of the Romany Holocaust is set to be built at the site.
More than 1,300 Roma men, women and children were held at the camp at Lety beginning in 1940: an estimated 327 of them died at the site, largely due to disease; more than 500 of those interned were transported to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, from which they never returned.
Several hundred people demonstrated in Prague against a meeting of
anti-immigrant European parties on Saturday.
They protested outside the Prague hotel where the meeting was convened and were later scheduled to converge later in the centre of the city.
The meeting, featuring France’s Marine Le Pen and the Netherland’s Geert Wilders, was held at the invitation of the leader of the Czech Freedom and Direct Democracy Party,
Tomio Okamura. The Czech leader, whose party gained the third most seats in parliament in October’s elections, said he was a convinced European but did not want to see the continent constructed on an administrative framework out of Brussels.
Le Pen’s said the direction Europe was now heading in was against the tide of history. Wilders said he hoped the Czech Republic would continue to close its doors to what he described as mass immigration.
Police said around 300 people took part in a demonstration against the meeting on Friday.
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