Czech Republic should step up its efforts to fight hate, says a new report

The committee says hate speech against Roma, Muslim migrants, and Germans still occurs, mainly on social networks.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 06.10.2021 17:00 (updated on 06.10.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Strasbourg, Oct 6 (ČTK) – The Czech Republic should intensify its effort in the fight against stereotypes, prejudices, and hatred against minorities, the Council of Europe's Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) said in its report released today.

In its fifth opinion, the Advisory Committee also calls on the Czech Republic to compensate Romani women who were victims of forced sterilization between 1996 and 2012.

The committee appreciated this year that the Czech Republic made progress in fighting discrimination, especially in education and media, and that it removed the pig farm from the site of the former concentration camp for Romani people in Lety, South Bohemia.

But the committee says hate speech against Roma, Muslim migrants, and Germans still occurs, mainly on social networks. This negative attitude, often encouraged by nationalist politicians, "creates an intimidating atmosphere in which a high number of those belonging to minorities refrain from invoking minority rights," the report states.

The report calls on Czech authorities to collect more data on the real number of minority members living in the country, saying that many people do not officially state their ethnicity out of fear of negative reactions. Some of the criteria for the recognition of some minority rights are based on the number of its members.

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The Polish minority is the only one in the Czech Republic that benefits from a comprehensive model of minority language education and uses its language in dealings with local authorities, for example in the Karviná and Frýdek-Místek districts, which border on Poland.

Although Czech authorities have improved access to justice in cases concerning discrimination, in general, neither the anti-discrimination laws nor the mandate of the ombudsman, which needs to be strengthened, have changed, the committee concluded.

To eliminate deeply rooted historical prejudices against some minorities in the country, the committee recommends including information on the culture and history of national minorities or their contribution to Czech society in elementary education.

The report says the country achieved progress in inclusive education as most Romani pupils took part in the last year of pre-school education, which has been compulsory since 2016. Nevertheless, nearly three-fourths of Romani pupils with mild mental disabilities are assigned to separate classes and were not included in mainstream education.

Based on the FCNM from 1998, the Czech Republic applies protection for 14 national minorities, including Roma, Polish, Slovak, German, Vietnamese, Belarusian, and Bulgarian minorities.

The Council of Europe is not a European Union institution, but an international organization associating 47 counties that supports and monitors cooperation of European countries in areas such as human rights protection, fight against all forms of discrimination, development of democracy, harmonization of legal orders, environment, and culture protection.

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