Milos Zeman


Amnesty International Condemns President Zeman’s Xenophobic Statements

Prague, Feb 22 (CTK) – The Amnesty International (AI) fresh report on human rights, which criticised Czech senior government officials and President Milos Zeman for xenophobic statements about refugees and restrictive immigration policy, is “total rubbish,” Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told CTK today.


Former interior minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) also dismissed the criticism and said the Czech Republic did not face a strong migration wave thanks to the measures he pushed through as minister.


In reaction to the report, Chovanec told CTK that critical comments of activists can change nothing about the fact that his measures protected the country from massive migration.


AI said Chovanec presented the restrictive immigration policy due to which refugees avoided entering the Czech Republic as a success in the campaign before the October 2017 general election.


On the other hand, Justice Minister Robert Pelikan (ANO) admitted that the past years had been harsh as regards human rights, saying he wanted to contribute to an improvement in this area.


Along with the refusal to accept the refugee quotas, AI criticises the Czech Republic for unequal access of the Roma children to education, the lengthy procedure of the removal of a pig farm at the site of a Nazi internment camp for the Roma and the Czech arms exports to the countries where they may be used by those violating human rights.


The Czech Education Ministry said in its statement today that the country was taking a number of measures to support equal access to education and that the situation in socially excluded locations required cooperation of multiple ministries.


The ministry cited an amendment to the education law, which has been in effect since September 2016 and which introduces support measures for disadvantaged students, funded by the state, to enable them to attend regular schools.


The mandatory year of pre-school education and the monitoring of data about Roma education should also improve the success rate of Roma children in schools, the ministry said.


However, legislative, organisational and pedagogic steps are not enough for the ultimate success of the process, which will take years, the ministry added, reiterating the country was commended by the UN Council and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for the progress it has achieved regarding Roma students’ integration into the education system.