Joined United Nations: 19 January 1993
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 27 January 2013
10,177,300 (July 2012 est.)
President elected by Parliament for a five-year term (eligible for a
second term); last successful election held 11-12 January 2013, with
runoff between top two finishers on 25-26 January 2013
Next scheduled election: 2018
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
Prime Minister selected by the President and Deputy Prime Ministers
selected by the President on the advise of the Prime Minister.
Next scheduled election: 2018
|DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Czech 90.4%, Moravian 3.7%, Slovak 1.9%, other 4% (2001 census)
Roman Catholic 26.8%, Protestant 2.1%, other 3.3%, unspecified 8.8%, unaffiliated 59% (2001 census)
Parliamentary democracy with 13 regions (kraje, singular - kraj) and 1 capital city (hlavni mesto); Legal system is a civil law system
based on Austro-Hungarian codes; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; legal code modified to bring it in line with
Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) obligations and to expunge Marxist-Leninist legal theory
Executive: Constitutional amendment passed in 2012 introduced presidential election by popular vote instead of by Parliament;
president elected for a five-year term (may not serve more than two consecutive terms); last successful election held on 15 February
2008 (after inconclusive elections held 8 and 9 February 2008; first round of next election to be held in 11-12 January 2013, with
runoff between top two finishers on 25-26 January 2013 if no candidate wins a majority in the first round); prime minister appointed
by the president
Legislative: Bicameral Parliament or Parlament consists of the Senate or Senat (81 seats; members are elected by popular vote to
serve six-year terms; one-third elected every two years) and the Chamber of Deputies or Poslanecka Snemovna (200 seats;
members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held in two rounds on 12-13 and 19-20 October 2012 (next to be held in October 2014); Chamber of
Deputies - last held on 28-29 May 2010 (next to be held in 2014)
Judicial: Supreme Court; Constitutional Court; chairman and deputy chairmen are appointed by the president for a 10-year term
Czech 94.9%, Slovak 2%, other 2.3%, unidentified 0.8% (2001 census)
The is little information or data regarding the earliest human habitation but archeological evidence suggested that the Prehistory of
the Czech Lands could have existed as far back as 700,000 BCE. Boii (Latin plural, singular Boius; Greek Βοιοι) is the Roman
name of an ancient Celtic tribe, attested at various times in Transalpine Gaul (modern France) and Cisalpine Gaul (northern Italy), as
well as in Pannonia (today Western Hungary), Bohemia, Moravia and western Slovakia. In the second half of the 3rd century BC,
the Boii allied with the other Cisalpine Gauls and the Etruscans against Rome. The burial rites of the Italian Boii show many
similarities with contemporary Bohemia, such as inhumation, which was uncommon with the other Cisalpine Gauls, or the absence of
the typically western Celtic torcs. This makes it much more likely that the Cisalpine Boii had actually originated from Bohemia rather
than the other way round. When the Romans finally conquered Pannonia in 8 AD, the Boii seem not to have opposed them. In the
2nd century AD, the Marcomanni entered into a confederation with other peoples including the Quadi, Vandals, and Sarmatians,
against the Roman Empire. This was probably driven by movements of larger tribes, like the Goths. According to the historian
Eutropius, the forces of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius battled against the Marcomannic confederation for three years at the fortress
of Carnuntum in Pannonia. The Christianization of the Marcomanni occurred under their queen Fritigil (mid fourth century), who
corresponded with Ambrose of Milan to bring about the conversion. After about 400 CE the old cremation burials typical of
Suevians like the Quadi disappear in Bohemia. The Quadi are among the mixture of peoples that evolved into the Bavarians. The
Slavs (Czech tribes in Bohemia and Moravians in Moravia) arrived in the sixth century. According to historian Dušan Třeštík, the
first Slavs came through Moravian Gate (Moravská brána) valley and in 530 moved into the eastern Bohemia and along rivers Labe
and Vltava further into central Bohemia. Many historians support theory of further wave of Slavs coming from the south during the
first half of the seventh century. Samo (died 658) was a Frankish merchant from the "Senonian country" (Senonago) (probably
modern Sens, France). He was the first ruler of the Slavs (623–658) whose name is known, and established one of the earliest
Slav states, a supra-tribal union usually called (King) Samo's empire, realm, kingdom, or tribal union. Archaeological findings
indicate that the "empire" was situated in present-day Moravia, Slovakia, Lower Austria and Carinthia. The settlements of the later
Moravian and Nitrian principalities (see Great Moravia) are often identical with those from the time of Samo's Empire. Great
Moravia was an empire existing in Central Europe between 833 and the early 10th century. It was inhabited and ruled by the
ancestors of modern Moravians and Slovaks. The core territory laid on both sides of the Morava river, in present-day Slovakia and
the Czech Republic, but the empire also extended into what are today parts of Hungary, Romania, Poland, Austria, Germany,
Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia and Ukraine. After freeing themselves from the rule of the Avars in the seventh century, Bohemia's Slavic
inhabitants came (in the ninth century) under the rule of the Přemyslid dynasty, which continued until 1306. With Bohemia's
conversion to Christianity in the ninth century, close relations were forged with the East Frankish kingdom, then part of the so-called
Carolingian empire, later the nucleus of the Holy Roman Empire of which Bohemia was an autonomous part from the beginning of
the 11th century (in 1002 duke Vladivoj succumbed to pressure of Roman king Henry II and received Bohemia as fief). The first to
use the title of "King of Bohemia" were the Přemyslid dukes Vratislav II (1085) and Vladislav II (1158), but their heirs again used
the title of duke. The title of king became hereditary (1198) under Ottokar I. His grandson Ottokar II (king from 1253–1278)
founded a short-lived empire which covered modern Austria and Slovenia. The mid-thirteenth century saw the beginning of
substantial German immigration as the court sought to replace losses from the brief Mongol invasion of Europe in 1241. The
Germans settled primarily along the northern, western, and southern borders of Bohemia, although many lived in towns throughout
the kingdom. The House of Luxembourg came to the Bohemian throne with the crowning of John I of Bohemia in 1310. After the
death of King Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia in the Battle of Mohács in 1526, Archduke Ferdinand of Austria became King of
Bohemia and the country became a constituent state of the Habsburg Monarchy. Bohemia enjoyed religious freedom between 1436
and 1620, and became one of the most liberal countries of the Christian world during that period of time. Until the so-called
"renewed constitution" of 1627, the German language was established as a second official language in the Czech lands. At the end
of the eighteenth century, the Czech national revivalist movement, in cooperation with part of the Bohemian aristocracy, started a
campaign for restoration of the kingdom's historic rights, whereby the Czech language was to replace German as the language of
administration. After World War I, Bohemia (as the biggest and most populated land) became the core of the newly-formed
country of Czechoslovakia, which combined Bohemia, Moravia, Austrian Silesia, Upper Hungary (present-day Slovakia) and
Carpathian Ruthenia into one state. Under its first president, Tomáš Masaryk, Czechoslovakia became a rich and liberal democratic
republic. Its territory included some of the most industrialized regions of the former Austria-Hungary. It was a democratic republic
throughout the pre-World War II period, but was characterized by ethnic problems due to the fact that the second and third largest
ethnic groups (Germans and Slovaks, respectively) were not satisfied with the political and economic dominance of the Czechs, and
that most Germans and Hungarians of Czechoslovakia had never really accepted the creation of the new state. After World War II,
pre-war Czechoslovakia was reestablished, the Beneš decrees concerned the expropriation of wartime "traitors" and collaborators
accused of treason but also all ethnic Germans (see Potsdam Agreement) and Hungarians. Carpathian Ruthenia was occupied by
(and in June 1945 formally ceded to) the Soviet Union. In 1946 parliamentary election the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
emerged as the winner in the Czech lands (the Democratic Party won in Slovakia). In February 1948 the Communists seized
power. In 1968, in response to a brief period of liberalization, the Eastern Bloc countries invaded Czechoslovakia. In 1969,
Czechoslovakia was turned into a federation of the Czech Socialist Republic and Slovak Socialist Republic. Under the federation,
social and economic inequities between the Czech and Slovak halves of the state were largely eliminated. The 1970s saw the rise of
the dissident movement in Czechoslovakia, represented (among others) by Václav Havel. The movement sought greater political
participation and expression in the face of official disapproval, making itself felt by limits on work activities (up to a ban on any
professional employment and refusal of higher education to the dissidents' children), police harassment and even prison time. In
1989 the country became democratic again through the Velvet Revolution. This occurred at around the same time as the fall of
communism in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland. Within three years communist rule had been totally eradicated from Europe.
Unlike Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, the end of communism in this country did not automatically mean the end of the
"communist" name: the word "socialist" was removed from the name on March 29, 1990, and replaced by "federal". In 1992, due
to growing nationalist tensions, Czechoslovakia finally ceased to exist. Its territory became the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which
were formally created on January 1, 1993. From 1991 the Czech Republic (originally as part of Czechoslovakia, and now in its
own right) has been a member of the Visegrad Group and from 1995 of the OECD. The Czech Republic joined NATO on March
12, 1999 and the European Union on May 1, 2004. t held the Presidency of the European Union for the first half of 2009.
Source: Wikipedia: History of the Czech Lands
The Czech Republic is a stable and prosperous market economy, which harmonized its laws and regulations with those of the EU
prior to its EU accession in 2004. While the conservative, inward-looking Czech financial system has remained relatively healthy,
the small, open, export-driven Czech economy remains sensitive to changes in the economic performance of its main export
markets, especially Germany. When Western Europe and Germany fell into recession in late 2008, demand for Czech goods
plunged, leading to double digit drops in industrial production and exports. As a result, real GDP fell 4.7% in 2009, with most of the
decline occurring during the first quarter. Real GDP, however, has slowly recovered with positive quarter-on-quarter growth
starting in the second half of 2009 and continuing throughout 2011. The auto industry remains the largest single industry, and,
together with its upstream suppliers, accounts for nearly 24% of Czech manufacturing. The Czech Republic produced more than a
million cars for the first time in 2010, over 80% of which were exported. Foreign and domestic businesses alike voice concerns
about corruption especially in public procurement. Other long term challenges include dealing with a rapidly aging population,
funding an unsustainable pension and health care system, and diversifying away from manufacturing and toward a more high-tech,
services-based, knowledge economy.
Source: CIA World Factbook (select Czech Republic)
The Czech political scene supports a broad spectrum of parties ranging from the semi-reformed Communist Party on the far left to
various nationalistic parties on the extreme right. Generally, the (liberal) right beyond the specific case of huge and conservative
Civic Democratic Party is splintered and has failed in several attempts to unite.
As the system in Czech repeatedly produces very weak governments (a specific problem is that about 15% of the electorate
support the Communists, who are shunned by all the other parties) there is constant talk about changing it but without much chance
of really pushing the reform through. An attempt to increase majority elements by tweaking the system parameters (more smaller
districts, d'Hondt method used) by ČSSD and ODS during their "opposition agreement" 1998–2002 was vehemently opposed by
smaller parties and blocked by the Constitutional Court as going too much against the constitution-stated proportional principle; only
a moderated form was adopted. This, however led to a stalemate in 2006 elections where both the left and the right each gained
exactly 100 seats; as many commenters point out, the earlier system would have given the right 3-4 seats majority.
A government formed of a coalition of the ODS, KDU-ČSL, and the Green Party (SZ), and led by the leader of the ODS Mirek
Topolánek finally succeeded in winning a vote of confidence on January 19th, 2007. This was thanks to two members of the
ČSSD, Miloš Melčák and Michal Pohanka, who abstained.
In March 2006, the parliament overturned a veto by President Václav Klaus, and the Czech Republic became the first former
communist country in Europe to grant legal recognition to same-sex partnerships.
A government formed of a coalition of the ODS, KDU-ČSL, and the Green Party (SZ), and led by the leader of the ODS Mirek
Topolánek finally succeeded in winning a vote of confidence on January 19, 2007. This was thanks to two members of the ČSSD,
Miloš Melčák and Michal Pohanka, who abstained.
On March 23, 2009, the government of Mirek Topolánek lost a vote of no-confidence. Jan Fischer was elected to head an interim
government until elections were held in May 2010. The first direct presidential election in the Czech Republic was held on 11–12
January 2013. No candidate received a majority of the votes in the first round, so a second round runoff election was held on 25–
26 January. The incumbent President Václav Klaus is term-limited, thus precluded from seeking reelection. His term ends on 7
March 2013. The newly elected president will begin his five year term on the day he takes the official oath. On 26 January, 2013,
Miloš Zeman won the second round of the election and has been elected the next president of the Czech Republic.
Source: Wikipedia: Politics of Czech Republic
While threats of international legal action never materialized in 2007, 915,220 Austrians, with the support of the popular Freedom
Party, signed a petition in January 2008, demanding that Austria block the Czech Republic's accession to the EU unless Prague
closes its controversial Soviet-style nuclear plant in Temelin, bordering Austria
Transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and minor transit point for Latin American cocaine to Western Europe; producer
of synthetic drugs for local and regional markets; susceptible to money laundering related to drug trafficking, organized crime;
significant consumer of ecstasy (2008)
|HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
|2011 Human Rights Reports: Czech Republic
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
May 25, 2012
The Czech Republic is a multiparty parliamentary democracy. Legislative authority is vested in the bicameral parliament, consisting of a
Chamber of Deputies (Poslanecka snemovna) and Senate (Senat). The president, elected every five years by parliament, is head of state
and appoints a prime minister from the majority party or coalition. In 2008 the bicameral parliament elected Vaclav Klaus as president for
a second term. The elections for the Chamber of Deputies in May 2010 were considered free and fair, as were October 2010 elections
for one-third of the seats in the Senate. Security forces reported to civilian authorities.
During the year societal discrimination against the country’s Romani population was a serious problem, and human rights observers
criticized the government’s efforts to overcome it as inadequate. Official corruption remained a problem, despite enforcement efforts, as
was trafficking in persons, particularly labor trafficking and exploitation.
Other human rights problems included instances of prison overcrowding, delays in the delivery of justice, violence against women,
sexual and other abuse of children, anti-Semitism, and discrimination against labor unions and migrant workers.
The government took steps to prosecute and punish officials who committed abuses, both in the security services and elsewhere in the
government, but pockets of impunity existed.
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2 September 2011
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
8 August–2 September 20112
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 9 of the convention
Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
2. The Committee welcomes the timely submission of the combined eighth to ninth periodic report which was prepared in line with the
reporting guidelines (CERD/C/2007/1). It expresses its appreciation for the dialogue held with the large delegation of the State party and
for comprehensive responses to the questions of the Country Rapporteur and Committee members. The Committee also welcomes the
updated Common Core Document transmitted by the State party.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee welcomes legislative and institutional steps taken by the State party during the period under review, including:
(a) The enactment in 2009 of Act No. 198/2009 on equal treatment and on legal means of protection against discrimination (the Anti-
(b) The amendment of paragraph 133 a in 2009 of the Rules of Civil Procedure (Act No. 99/1963) reversing the burden of proof in
cases of racial discrimination;
C. Concerns and recommendations
6. The Committee welcomes the 2011 population census which gave respondents the opportunity to answer open-ended optional
questions including on ethnic origin. However, it still regrets the lack of sufficient disaggregated data to date to efficiently support
assessments of racial discrimination and measures to address it. The Committee also notes inconsistency in some data provided in the
periodic report and the Common Core document.
In light of its general recommendation No. 4 (1973) on demographic composition of the population and paragraphs 10 and 12 of its
revised reporting guidelines (CERD/C/2007/1), the Committee recommends that the State party include disaggregated demographic data
on the ethnic composition of the population in its next periodic report. The Committee reminds the State party that managing and
monitoring racial discrimination require measurement and that the analysis of disaggregated data is important in order to assess and track
targets and goals.
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Freedom In The World 2012 Report
Political Rights Score: 1
Civil Liberties Score: 1
In March 2011, the Constitutional Court struck down as unconstitutional austerity measures that the ruling coalition had pushed through
Parliament via a legislative state of emergency in November 2010. The lower house of Parliament approved healthcare and welfare
reforms in June and major pension reforms in September, despite opposition from the Senate, President Václav Klaus, and the general
public. Meanwhile, the government continued to face criticism for failing to adequately address the unfair treatment of Roma children in
the education system.
The 2006 lower house elections produced a chamber that was evenly divided between left- and right-leaning parties, leading to a series
of short-lived, ODS-led coalitions and caretaker governments. The caretaker government headed by independent Jan Fischer led the
government until May 2010, when parliamentary elections resulted in 56 and 53 seats in the lower house for CSSD and ODS,
respectively. The center-right, free-market Tradition Responsibility Prosperity 09 (TOP 09) party placed third with 41 seats, followed by
the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) with 26 seats, and the right-leaning Public Affairs (VV) party with 24 seats. In
June, Klaus appointed ODS leader Petr Nečas as prime minister, who formed a center-right coalition government with TOP 09 and VV.
In an effort to trim the budget deficit following a recession in 2009, the new government pledged to cut public-sector wages by 10
percent in 2011 and replace seniority-based raises with a system of personal bonuses. The unpopular move allowed the opposition to
gain control in the October 2010 Senate elections, giving the CSSD, along with other opposition parties, the power to obstruct legislation
passed by the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies. In order to bypass the opposition, the lower house declared a legislative state of
emergency at the end of October, allowing it to expedite the passage of several controversial austerity bills.
Throughout 2011, thousands of protestors demonstrated against the government’s austerity package. Many claimed that the nation’s
financial problems were not the result of insufficient funds, but rather that public funds were being unfairly distributed. In April, the
Constitutional Court rejected the government’s austerity package and declared the fast-tracked legislation procedures unconstitutional.
After months of infighting and a veto by the CSSD-controlled Senate, the lower house pushed through healthcare and welfare reforms in
June. In addition to altering pricing schemes, the bill divided healthcare into a two-tiered system, with basic care covered by public
funds, and privately purchased so-called premium care. After a long battle against the opposition, the lower house passed major pension
reforms in September that semi-privatize the system. The reforms were largely unpopular with the public.
The Czech Republic is an electoral democracy. The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Parliament, has 200 members elected for
four-year terms by proportional representation. The Senate has 81 members elected for six-year terms, with one-third up for election
every two years. The president, elected by Parliament for five-year terms, appoints judges, the prime minister, and other cabinet
members, but has few other formal powers.
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7 December 2012
Legacy of Czech activist and president Václav Havel honoured with tapestry
Václav Havel, the human rights activist and former President of Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic who died last year, is to be
honoured by Amnesty International at the unveiling of a specially designed tapestry in Prague this weekend.
The tapestry, designed by Czech artist Petr Sís and woven by master weavers in Aubusson, France, was unveiled during a ceremony at
the recently renamed Václav Havel Airport in the Czech capital on Sunday afternoon.
“This magnificent tapestry is a permanent memorial and reminder of the central role played by Václav Havel in restoring, promoting and
protecting human rights in Europe and all over the world,” said Bill Shipsey founder of Art for Amnesty.
The art work was conceived by Shipsey on behalf of Amnesty International and supported by five world famous musicians – Bono and
The Edge from U2, Peter Gabriel, Sting and Yoko Ono Lennon.
The tapestry, measuring 5 x 4.25m, was been donated to the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation for display in the airport's Terminal 2.
The five musicians, all long time supporters of Václav Havel, funded the CZK 1.5 million cost of the tapestry.
“Few writers follow their words as they leave the page and become actions. The cost of public service is great for anyone. For an artist
to purposely ignore his own literary voice, to serve all the other voices that can make democracy such a cacophony on occasion, is
bewildering to me," said Bono
"But out of that noise, Václav's musical ear found a clear melody to inspire a complex people. His influence is all around us and this work
gives an important permanent reminder, fittingly by his countryman Peter Sís and in his home town.”
Vaclav Havel died on 18 December 2011 at the age of 75. A playwright, he led the former Czechoslovakia’s dissident human rights
movement Charter 77, and was repeatedly jailed by the Communist government.
He was ‘adopted’ by Amnesty International as a “prisoner of conscience” when he was imprisoned in the 1970s and 1980s.
In 2003 he was the first to be awarded the prestigious Amnesty International “Ambassador of Conscience” Award.
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Beyond Breivik, Hate in Europe is on the Rise
April 25, 2012
With the eyes of the world on the Oslo district court, there are stark contrasts on display. The twisted and hate-filled logic of Anders
Breivik contrasts with the calm, dignified and above all fair criminal process against him.
There are contrasts too between the shocking terrorist atrocities he is charged with and the response of Norway and its people: no
emergency measures, no hysteria, just a reaffirmation of the fundamental importance of human rights and the rule of law.
The rest of Europe could learn a lot from Norway’s response. In the decade that followed the 9/11 attacks in the United States, some
countries in Europe, including the UK and France, relied on draconian powers to combat terrorism, bypassing the criminal justice system
through the use administrative detention and deportation to countries with poor records on torture. Others, including Poland, Romania
and Lithuania, cooperated with the CIA on the illegal transfer, detention and torture of terrorism suspects.
The United States which is trying terrorism suspects using unfair “military commissions” could also learn from Norway. Despite his
desire, like many terrorists, to be treated as a warrior, Breivik is rightly being prosecuted as an ordinary criminal.
The lessons from the Breivik case for Europe go beyond the fight against terrorism.
It may be comforting to see Breivik as a lone madman whose actions were an isolated event. But the reality is that hatred and intolerance
are growing in Europe today. Three trends stand out.
First, in many European countries, populist, anti-Muslim, anti-Roma, and anti-immigrant extremist parties are now a prominent part of
the political landscape.
The National Front secured almost 18 percent of the vote in the April 22 first round presidential elections in France. The Freedom Party
withdrew its support from ruling coalition in the Netherlands on April 23 causing it to collapse. Until recently, extremist parties were also
part of government coalitions in Italy and Switzerland. Similar parties have made significant gains in Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, and
had electoral success in the 2009 European Parliament elections in Hungary, the UK, and elsewhere. An extremist party looks poised to
enter the Greek parliament in forthcoming elections.
A 2011 study from Chatham House, a research and policy organization, indicates that support for these parties is a long-term trend,
which in many cases pre-dates the economic downturn. And far from neutralizing extremist parties, the response of mainstream parties
has served instead to legitimize the extremists, sending a message to voters that xenophobic, anti-Muslim, or anti-Roma sentiment is
acceptable rather than a cause for shame.
Second, intolerance toward foreigners, Muslims and other minorities is now common among Europeans. In polling data from 2010 by
the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, half of those polled across eight EU states (including France, Germany and the UK) shared the view that
there are too many immigrants, and more than 40 percent concluded the same about Muslims. Norway itself was criticized by the UN in
2011 for failing to tackle hate speech. Fears about loss of culture, terrorism, crime and competition all help explain rising intolerance in
Third, minorities and migrants encounter discrimination in housing, education and employment, as well as racist violence. Research by
the EU Fundamental Rights Agency in 2009 demonstrates that Muslims and Roma experience persistent hostility and discrimination
across the region. It also found that African migrants face significant problems, including discrimination and violence.
In a statement to the court this week, Breivik described members of a German Neo-Nazi gang who murdered nine migrants and a
policewoman during a seven-year spree as “heroic young men.” While individual attacks are the typical pattern in Europe, intolerance
sometimes spills into mob violence, including attacks on migrants in Greece and Italy and on Roma in Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic
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Address of the President of the Czech Republic at the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly
Date: 9/26/2012, New York
he Czech Republic firmly believes that international disputes and conflicts can and should be settled by peaceful and not military means.
We have been systematically demonstrating that for a long time. When the division of Czechoslovakia was taking place 20 years ago and
the situation was emotionally strained and painful for us, it had never crossed the mind of any of our politicians that the problem should
be addressed by other than peaceful means. Difficult negotiations undertaken solely by our domestic representatives resulted in achieving
a settlement that political representatives and citizens, in both newly established states then as well as today, with the benefit of hindsight,
considered and consider to be a positive solution.
Our experience confirms that it is in particular the domestic politicians who should be the driving force of talks rather than international
negotiation teams or former political celebrities. The mandate of the negotiating parties has to be rooted in domestic conditions and local
traditions as firmly as possible and the external observers must not succumb to the temptation of imposing a settlement that they
themselves regard as the right one, but which is not in line with the long-term spontaneous developments in the country or region. For a
number of reasons, those inevitable preconditions are often not met in various attempts at peaceful conflict resolution, and it is therefore
no wonder that we often see the results opposite to what the architects of a particular settlement would have wished.
We have to ask ourselves: what is the success of peace talks and international missions? Do the external interventions improve the
situation, or do they rather make it worse by hindering spontaneous processes that could re-introduce stability in the region possibly with
smaller sacrifices compared to the price paid by the external intervention?
Distinguished Mr. Chairman, allow me to assure you that the Czech Republic will continue to be an active UN member. The Czech
Republic observes and applies the principles and standards of international law in its foreign policy and promotes their international
application. We will support the UN activities in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. These issues belong
among our security policy priorities.
The Czech Republic will continue to take part in the UN peacekeeping operations as well as in humanitarian and development
programmes. The Czech Republic also supports the attempts at reforming the United Nations including the Security Council, which
started in 2005 aiming to respond to changed international environment and promote a more balanced representation of individual world
regions and states.
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Statement regarding a statutory duty to perform community service, challenged at the Constitutional Court
12. 12. 2012
Constitutional Court deleted compulsory community service from the government reform package, agreeing with the
The Constitutional Court called on the ombudsman, pursuant to the provision of Sec. 48 (2) of Act No. 182/1993 Coll., on the
Constitutional Court, to provide a statement regarding a section of a motion of a group of Members of the Lower House of the
Parliament of the Czech Republic to repeal the provision of Act No. 435/2004 Coll., on Employment, and the provision of Act No.
111/2006 Coll., on Assistance in Material Need, regulating the performance of community service as a condition for claiming an
Using the statement of the ombdusman the Constitutional Court deleted compulsory community service from the government reform
The ombudsman informed the Constitutional Court that he had received tens of complaints related to the issue in question. He
acquainted the court in detail with several representative cases, which he believes adequately illustrate the present condition. The
complaints of persons addressing the ombudsman in regard to the performance of community service indicate that it could breach the
right to fair remuneration, adequate material security or even prohibition of forced labour guaranteed by the Charter. This fact cannot be
changed by the declared purpose of community service (“one of the possibilities to maintain or develop work abilities and skills of
persons who have not had a permanent employment for a long time and have objective or subjective problems finding a suitable
employment”), which, moreover, is not actually fulfilled in practice.
The common denominator of the complaints that the ombudsman is receiving from people is a disagreement with the new concept of
community service as such, particularly since it is performed for free. The complainants state that they are not or have not been on any
social benefits and, additionally, the performance of community service is a financial burden for them since they have to pay e.g. a fare
to the place of work. Furthermore, the complaints that the ombudsman has received show that the persons forced to perform
community service are those that should be given extra care in the process of finding employment due to their health, age, care of a child
or other serious reasons. Additionally, it needs to be noted that applicants often feel that their dignity is harmed if they are to perform e.g.
cleaning jobs despite the fact that with their education they could perform more skilled work.
The ombudsman general attitude to this form of community service is negative (based on both the interpretation of the contested legal
regulation and his current findings from investigating individual complaints).
In conclusion presented to the Constitutional Court, the ombudsman regarded as very disputable in particular the effort of the state,
instead of consistently checking persons in respect of whom a suspicion of long-term avoidance of work and abuse of the social
security system exists, to create a “preventive” system, which, however, can affect (and does affect, based on my experience) persons
whose only problem on the labour market is age or parenthood. A big problem is also breach of the insurance principle, which the
system of unemployment benefits is built on, since the state actually forces duly insured persons to “work off” the relevant insurance
benefit if an insurance claim occurs (a loss of employment).
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Czech NGOs lobby to preserve human rights agenda on international day
Prague, 10.12.2012 17:41, (ROMEA)
Human rights defenders are demanding that the Czech Prime Minister instruct his cabinet not to go through with budget cuts to the
Office of the Government and not to transfer its advisory boards to various ministries. They are concerned that human rights protections
in the Czech Republic will deteriorate as a result.
The activists say the move would reduce the significance and weaken the influence of these advisory bodies, the Czech Government
Human Rights Commissioner, and the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion. Their open letter, signed by seven nonprofits, the
Czech Women's Lobby and a former Human Rights Commissioner, has been published today on the occasion of International Human
"We consider the proposed reduction of the Office of the Government to be a sign that the Czech Republic does not intend to fulfill the
obligations it undertook in the past in the area of human rights and social inclusion," reads the letter, which the Czech Press Agency has
a copy of. The authors disagree with the plan to transfer the government's advisory boards to various ministries. The letter says they
have "serious concerns" about human rights protections and about the direction of human rights policies in the Czech Republic.
The letter is signed by the Czech Women's Lobby, the Czech Helsinki Committee, the Association for Integration and Migration, the
Slovak Minority Center, and other organizations. It is also signed by Petr Uhl, who was the first-ever Czech Government Human Rights
Commissioner from 1998 - 2001.
Representatives of various ministries, nonprofit organizations and experts sit on the government advisory bodies. According to the open
letter, the advisory bodies are the "sole permanent platform" where experts can meet with state administration staff. The advisory bodies
propose and recommend what measures the Government should take and how it should proceed in various matters.
The Czech Helsinki Committee says the state of human rights has recently deteriorated in the Czech Republic. According to its annual
report for last year, budget cuts have affected children, people living with disability, senior citizens, single-parent families, and the
unemployed. The inclusion of Romani children into mainstream schools was halted, hatred of Romani people grew, there were more
assaults on members of sexual minorities and the prisons became even more overcrowded than usual. Women's organizations are
pointing out that measures to help women balance family life with professional work have been stalled.
The agenda of Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner Monika Šimůnková now includes the Human Rights Council, the Inter-
ministerial Commission on Roma Community Affairs, the Council on National Minorities, the Council for Non-Governmental Non-Profit
Organisations, the Board for People with Disabilities, and the Agency for Social Inclusion. Šimůnková disagrees with transferring these
bodies to different ministries and previously stated that this would practically mean the liquidation of her section. Even the Council for
Drug Policy Coordination and the National Drug Coordinator would no longer be part of the Office of the Government under the
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President since 8 March 2013
First Deputy Prime Minister
since 13 July 2010
Deputy Prime Minister since 1 July 2011
Prime Minister since 28 June 2010