Amnesty International Report 2016/17 - Czech Republic
|Publication Date||22 February 2017|
|Cite as||Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2016/17 - Czech Republic, 22 February 2017, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/58b03408a.html [accessed 16 December 2017]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Head of state: Miloš Zeman
Head of government: Bohuslav Sobotka
The government adopted measures aimed at addressing concerns from the European Commission on discrimination against Roma children in education. Anti-refugee and anti-migrant protests continued and groups supporting refugees faced threats from far-right groups.
DISCRIMINATION – ROMA
Right to education
On 1 September, an amendment to the School Act came into force. It had been adopted in 2015 in response to infringement proceedings launched by the European Commission under the Race Equality Directive. Positive reforms included support measures for children identified as having special educational needs; the introduction of a compulsory year of kindergarten for all pupils; and the aim for all children with "mild mental disabilities" to be integrated into mainstream education and be provided with inclusive education. National and international NGOs welcomed the reforms, highlighting, however, that further measures were required to tackle prejudicial attitudes against Roma children and provide sufficient resources for the educational support of those pupils who require it.
In March, the UN CEDAW Committee recommended establishing a mechanism for providing compensation to Roma women who were victims of forced sterilization, and the appointment of an independent body to investigate the full extent of the consequences of forced sterilization. The government had not taken any steps towards implementing such measures by the end of the year.
RACISM AND XENOPHOBIA
Anti-migrant and anti-refugee protests continued. In February, thousands of people participated in an anti-refugee demonstration in the capital Prague, after which the office of the refugee rights organization Klinika was attacked, resulting in one person being injured. In April, several businesses taking part in the "hate-free zones" campaign in Prague were attacked and sprayed with hate messages and far-right symbols. In September, five people were charged with criminal damage and "expression of sympathy for a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms". This was followed by a several-hundred-strong "anti-hate" demonstration in the city. President Zeman continued to present refugees and asylum-seekers as "a threat" and used anti-migrant rhetoric. In August, a man fired shots into the air and shouted racist abuse at a Roma children's summer camp in Jiřetín pod Jedlovou, village, Děčin District. According to camp organizers, local police did not send officers to the scene despite the camp managers' repeated requests for help. In September, a regional police office investigation dismissed these claims but found that the incident was not investigated thoroughly.
REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS
The government agreed to continue with resettlement and the EU-sanctioned relocation scheme but with in-depth security checks. Only 52 refugees were resettled and 12 were relocated to the country by the end of the year. The routine detention of asylum-seekers and migrants continued.
RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE
In June, the Constitutional Court found that Section 13(2) of the Registered Partnership Act, which prohibited an individual in a same-sex registered partnership from adopting children and being the sole custodian of the child, was unconstitutional; the provision was repealed. However, joint adoptions by LGBTI couples in a same-sex registered partnership, where both partners would then have full parental rights, remained prohibited.
In May, the Czech Republic signed the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, with the intention of ratifying it by mid-2018. In March, the CEDAW Committee noted the low number of gender discrimination lawsuits filed in the country and recommended the introduction of a free legal aid system for such proceedings. The Committee also expressed concern about the continued gender pay gap of approximately 21%, the third highest in the EU.