Babis to Squash Human Rights Minister

Prague, Nov 24 (CTK) – The Czech Helsinki Committee, Czech Women’s Lobby and Lumos NGOs appeal on the election-winning ANO’s head Andrej Babis not to cancel the human rights minister post, which ANO declared in its election programme, the NGO’s said in an open letter to Babis provided to CTK today.


According to the NGO’s representatives, the human rights agenda needs to be secured institutionally and as regards human resources and finance, unless it is to be merely formal.


The ANO movement announced its plan to remove the post in its pre-election programme published one month before the October general election. The agenda was to be moved to the Justice Ministry, which his currently headed by Robert Pelikan (ANO).


Jan Chvojka from Social Democrats (CSSD) currently performs the role of the Human Rights Minister. The outgoing government will hand in its resignation next week. President Milos Zeman plans to appoint a minority government led by Babis in mid-December.


It is crucial that the new cabinet further systematically dealt with the protection and fulfilment of human rights and civic freedoms of all vulnerable groups, such as women, children, seniors, the disabled and asylum seekers, and with continued assessment of whether the police, prison service and other state institutions respect the Czech laws and international human rights conventions, the NGO’s wrote.


They also stressed that the Czech Republic received 201 recommendations from the United Nations (UN) this month on what steps it should take in the next five years to improve the protection of rights of these groups and to meet its commitments in the area of human rights.


“An action plan has to be prepared so that these recommendations can be met and it needs to be carried out without delay. And this is a task deserving a human rights minister,” the Czech Helsinki Committee’s director Lucie Rybova told CTK.