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Anti-Discrimination Legislation

Anti-Discrimination Legislation Constitution of Czech Republic.

According to Article 3 of the Charter on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, which is part of the Constitution of the Czech Republic, the fundamental rights and freedoms are guaranteed to all regardless of sex, race, colour, language, faith and religion, political or other opinions, national or social background, association with a national or ethnic minority, property, family or other circumstances. The Charter also states that “everyone has the right to freely determine their nationality. It is forbidden to have any influence on this decision and any pressure on “deprivation of nationality.” Article 15 guarantees freedom of thought, conscience and religion, Article 16 - freedom of religion and independence of the church from the state. Separate chapters have been devoted to the rights of minorities. P. 24 declares that belonging to any national or ethnic minority must not cause harm to anyone. According to Article 25 members of minorities are guaranteed the right to develop their own culture, to disseminate and receive education and information in their native language, use their own language in proceedings and form national associations.

According to Article 42 of the Penal Code of the Czech Republic xenophobia is an aggravating circumstance when committing crimes. The following qualifying terms have also been introduced in Article 140 (“Murder”), Article 145 (“Serious bodily injury”), Article 146 (“Injuries”), Article 149 (“Torture”), Article 170 (“The deprivation of liberty”), Article 171 (“Restrictions on freedom of movement”), Article 172 (“Forced export abroad”), Article 175 (“Solicitation”), Article 183 (“Violation of privacy”), Article 228 (“Vandalism”), Article 352 (“Violence against an individual or group of persons”), Article 329 (“Abuse of power by public officials”) and Articles 378-383, devoted to military offenses. Directly devoted to the fight against xenophobia is Article 355 “Defamation of a nation, race, ethnic or other groups” and Article 356 “Hatred speeches”, as well as Article 403 “Creating and supporting movements aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms” and Article 404 “An expression of sympathy for a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms.”

Holocaust denial is punishable under Article 405, but, as already mentioned, it also contains a passage about the punishment for the approval of the “crimes of communism”, thus equalizing the communist and Nazi system and thereby indirectly rehabilitating the latter. Article 176 is devoted to the punishment for the violation of freedom of religion.

Since 2006, the Czech Republic has a law legalizing same-sex couples registered partnerships.

The main legal act of anti-discrimination legislation is the “Law on equal treatment and legal protection from discrimination” (№ 198/2009) adopted in 2009. The law prohibits direct or indirect discrimination on grounds of race, ethnic origin, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, pregnancy, maternity, disability, religion, faith or belief. Article 10 of the Act establishes the rights of a person affected by discrimination, access to a court in order to eliminate the effects of discrimination and to obtain compensation. In addition, the law gives the Ombudsman the functions of the national equality bodies. In general, the anti-discrimination law meets the standards of the European Union Directive 2000/43/EU.

There is also the Act on the Ombudsman for Human Rights in 1999 (№ 349/1999), which describes the terms of reference for the Ombudsman to protect individuals from discrimination.

Elements of anti-discrimination legislation are included in the Law on Service in the Armed Forces, in the Law on Service in the Security Services, as well as employment law and other laws of the Czech Republic.

It is important that the Czech Republic recognizes that it has 18 ethnic minorities, some of them are the so-called “new” minorities, i.e. active in the country over the past decade. Looking ahead, we can say that in 2013 Belarusians and Vietnamese received such recognition. Their representatives together with Bulgarians, Croatians, Russians, Greeks, Serbs, Ukrainians, Germans, Poles, Slovaks and other minority representatives will sit on the Board of the Government of the Czech Republic for National Minorities. Due to this they will be able to participate in the formulation of laws concerning the rights of national minorities.

In 2014, the law against discrimination in the workplace came into force, focusing on corruption and any other violation of workers’ rights.

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