Attacks on Czech LGBTQ+ community rise amid calls to boost legal protection

Multiple non-governmental organizations are calling on the country to adopt stricter laws that would better protect the LGBTQ+ community. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 21.11.2023 10:58:00 (updated on 21.11.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Cases of violence targeting people due to their sexual orientation or gender identity hit a record high in the Czech Republic last year and are up sharply again so far in 2023, according to new data that underscores activists' calls to enhance legal safeguards.

The In Iustitia non-governmental organization, which monitors prejudiced-based attacks, reported 90 such cases in 2022 – more than double compared with the year before and the most since tracking began in 2011. So far this year, 60 incidents have been documented, data shows.

Verbal assaults and intimidation made up two-thirds of attacks last year, according to the research, and physical violence accounted for about 12 percent. Homosexuals and transgender people were most commonly affected.

What’s the solution?

The Ministry of Justice says it is reviewing the issue. Spokesman Vladimír Řepka noted current laws allow bias-based motives to influence sentencing and said political talks are addressing prejudiced violence to make criminal sentences and punishments stricter.

However, activists argue that Czech laws lag far behind other European nations in safeguarding LGBTQ+ victims and call on leaders to take urgent action given the soaring number of reported incidents.

Following a fatal attack on a gay bar in Slovakia last year, 24 human rights organizations across Czechia together called on the government in an official letter and petition to change Czech legislation that would better safeguard the LGBTQ+ community. Known as the “Together against hate” initiative, it has so far collected over 23,000 signatures.  

A 2022 study by Rainbow Europe, a pro-LGBTQ+ research company, found that Czechia ranked 33rd out of 49 European countries in their annual review of LGBTQ+ human rights. The ranking aggregates various categories, such as equality and nondiscrimination, legal gender recognition, and hate crime and speech.

“Despite the high numbers, the Czech Republic is still one of the last countries in Europe where the legal system does not protect LGBTQ+ people from attacks,” explained In Iustitia director Klára Kalibová. "A person attacked for their sexual orientation or gender identity is, therefore, less protected by the law than a person attacked for their political beliefs or nationality," she added. At present, no part of Czech legislation explicitly protects people from gender- or sexual identity-based violence.  

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