Babis Asks NGO To Select Syrian Orphans For Relocation

Andrej Babiš

Prague, Sept 21 (CTK) – Prime Minister Andrej Babis asked NGO representatives and MEP Michaela Sojdrova to select the Syrian orphans who might be moved from the refugee camps to the Czech Republic, Sojdrova (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) told journalists after their meeting today.


Babis insists on his view that the children should be helped outside the Czech Republic.


He said the Interior Ministry would pass contacts to the Greek organisations working in the refugee camps to Sojdrova.


“The project is not existing, there are no children. Let us wait and see whether any children will be found,” he added.


Interior Minister Jan Hamacek (Social Democrats, CSSD) said it had turned out that Sojdrova did not yet have any concrete plan.


“Speaking on behalf of the government, we have confirmed that we are ready to pass the contacts. If a specific list (of the children) is created, we will continue with the discussion,” Hamacek said.


Sojdrova said she could not guess when the first children might come to the Czech Republic. “This will not be an easy affair. We want to select the youngest (children), without any accompaniment,” she added.


Not Czech, but EU money will be spent on the project. “Babis said if we find the children, find the families, then we can bring them in,” Sojdrova said.


Babis declined to say after the meeting whether the Czech Republic will accept the children if the organisations find them.


“It would be better to build a school, flats, accommodation for the children. This may be somewhere in Jordan, this would give them better prospects,” he added.


Before the meeting, Babis absolutely rejected the acceptance of the orphans, arguing that they should be primarily helped in the countries from which they came and where they lived now.


After the search scores a progress, another meeting with Babis is to follow, Sojdrova said.


Sojdrova said the selection of the children would be entirely within the remit of the Czech Interior Ministry.


A preference would be given to the youngest children or those without parents that could be found and they would be granted temporary international protection, not permanent asylum or Czech citizenship.


On Thursday, almost one-half of senators called on Babis to accept the children.