Press release: European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) reports on the Czech Republic

On 13 October 2015, ECRI released its report related to racism and intolerance in the territory of Czech Republic. ECRI as a monitoring body, prepares analyses based on domestic documentations, country visits and dialogues with national authorities in 5 year cycles.

According to the report Czech Republic made several improvements in the field of equal treatment and anti-discrimination since the last release of ECRI (2009). Inter alia, the Anti-Discrimination Act was enacted in 2009, the Strategy for Combating Extremism has been drawn up, the Regional Integration Support Centres for Foreigners have been set up in all regions of the country, a Committee for Sexual Minorities was set up within the Government Council for Human Rights, and the authorities planned to make the last year of preschool compulsory for all children.

In spite of these developments there are still some issues to improve. ECRI stated that the Public Defender of Rights had not possess the necessary powers and responsibilities to combat racial discrimination effectively. It also has concerns about organised a series of 26 anti-Roma demonstrations and protests throughout 2013 organised by right-wing extremist groups, such as the `White media` hacker group which is against multiculturalism and human rights. ECRI expressed its worries about The Concept for Roma Integration and Strategy for Combating Social Exclusion, since it have had little effect. It also objected that no specific and measurable targets had been fixed for transfers of Roma children from practical to ordinary education and none appeared to had taken place in practice.

ECRI requested Czech authorities to take effective measures in the following fields:

  • ratifying Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights;
  • improving the provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Act, applying the share of the burden of proof in all cases and on all grounds;
  • enlarging the competences of the Public Defender of Rights;
  • completing the Criminal Code with specific references in the fight against racism and racial discrimination, as well as in the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • establishing a single mechanism for collecting disaggregated data on hate crime, including hate speech and recording the specific bias motivation, as well as making this data available to the public;
  • ensuring that the term “inadaptable” to refer to vulnerable groups, especially Roma, is not used in any official capacity;
  • carrying out plans to introduce at least one year of compulsory and free of charge preschool for all children;
  • enacting a law on social housing and undertaking a wide consultation beforehand, including with the Roma community;
  • relocating the pig farm away from the Roma Holocaust site in Lety;
  • focusing on Roma people and Roma organisations in the Campaign against Racism and Hate Violence and fully involving them in its conception, planning and implementation;
  • conducting a thorough evaluation of the shortcomings of the Concept for Roma Integration and the Strategy for Combating Social Exclusion and taking into account in the preparation of the new National Roma Integration Strategy;
  • reducing the number of Roma pupils in practical schools.

The full report is available here.

The press release in PDF format is available here.

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