Czech law fails to protect vulnerable groups against hate crimes

An open letter accuses the government of not protecting certain demographics in Czechia – such as LGBTQ people – from discrimination-based violence.


Written by ČTK Published on 06.11.2023 17:30:00 (updated on 06.11.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Non-profit organization In Iustitia has today published an open letter to Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Justice Minister Pavel Blažek, citing that legal protection for individuals at risk of bias violence in Czechia, particularly those with disabilities and the LGBTQ+ community, is deemed insufficient.

Acts of bias violence, or hate crimes, refer to acts committed against individuals due to their affiliation with a specific social group, driven primarily by prejudice against that group.

Too much marginalization, NGO says

In Iustitia has long been advocating for legal reform, highlighting that Czech criminal law currently protects individuals targeted because of their race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, or political beliefs. However, it fails to offer protection to those attacked based on age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender. 

Klára Kalibová, the organization's director, emphasized: "All people are equal, but the Criminal Code currently tells us otherwise. It only protects certain groups from being attacked because of prejudice. The criminal law must not divide the citizens of the Czech Republic into two categories. Everyone deserves the same access to justice," she said.

Long overdue Criminal Code changes needed

The organization's appeal underscores the fact that the protection of groups vulnerable to bias violence has been part of Czech legal tradition since 1923, and calls for an update to this legal framework. Czechia is noted as one of the last European countries that does not explicitly protect individuals attacked due to their disability, sexual orientation, or gender.

In Iustitia claims that 58 percent of people with disabilities have experienced bias violence, and attacks against women based on their gender are on the rise.

The authors of the appeal are advocating for an update to the Criminal Code to incorporate a definition of biased violence that encompasses not only race, language, or political opinion but also gender, sexual orientation, age, or health and marital status as biased motives. They note that some offenses within the current legal framework already contain an identical definition.

This appeal by In Iustitia sheds light on the pressing need to address the gaps in legal protection against bias violence in Czechia, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and equal access to justice for all citizens.

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