Czech politicians criticize decision to evict refugees from housing facility

The Czech lower house of parliament said the measure was a necessary part of streamlining the operation of refugee-housing facilities.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 08.12.2022 12:24:00 (updated on 08.12.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Chamber of Deputies announced earlier this week that it would evict Ukrainians from a designated housing facility for refugees in Harrachov in the Liberec region. The decision has been met with much public discontent, with Prime Minister Petr Fiala speaking out against it yesterday.

Chamber of Deputies Speaker Markéta Adamová announced Tuesday that the Ukrainian refugees living in the facility – a hostel – would soon need to find alternative accommodation. At present, 17 people live in the facility, meaning that two-fifths of the building is occupied.

The Czech lower house of parliament justified its decision by stating that part of the refugees already found work in the area and their children began going to school. As the facility is less than 50 percent full, it claims that it wants to make the operation of refugee-housing facilities “more efficient,” reports.

Widespread disapproval

The issue has attracted nationwide attention. Fiala yesterday spoke against it on a televised appearance with CNN Prima, saying that the decision “should not have happened.”

Head of the Association of Regions Martin Kuba from the Civic Democrats party – part of the ruling government – also spoke out against the decision. “I consider it completely absurd,” he wrote on social media, accusing the government of evicting refugees “so that politicians can relax there [at the facility].”

Deputy Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies similarly criticized his colleague, saying the decision was "completely incomprehensible” to him according to iDnes, and alluding to the fact that the municipality where the housing facility is based should make the decision about refugees.

Adamová, however, defended herself. She said that the ensuing debate has caused a proverbial “storm in a teacup.” Writing in a statement to, she said “no one wants to move refugees from Harrachov to another region," adding that alternative accommodation will be provided if it is needed.

A strained situation

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February this year, almost half a million Ukrainians have been granted temporary visas in Czechia. An estimated 350,000 to 400,000 Ukrainians currently live in the Czech Republic. 

Last month, Interior Minister Vít Rakušan said that space for refugees was becoming ever-more limited, reported. In the event of a winter wave of refugees, Rakušan said that the country would be able to accept tens – rather than hundreds – of thousands of refugees. 

Fiala also earlier this week acknowledged the filling-up of accommodation facilities in Czechia, noting that the government plans to build mobile homes to tackle the issue in case of a “winter surge” of refugees.

The government’s decision to evict the refugees from the Harrachov housing facility has sparked discussion on a sensitive topic that will likely be at the fore of public attention in the months to come.

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