Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication.

Application of Legislation, Criminal Cases, Court Rulings

Application of Legislation, Criminal Cases, Court Rulings

According to the amendment to the Law on the Ombudsman for Human Rights adopted in 2009, its jurisdiction also touches on the protection from discrimination and the right to equal treatment. He received the right to conduct research on this issue to assist victims of discrimination in legal terms, publish reports and make recommendations.

State Council on Roma Affairs was established in Czech Republic in 1997, with regional and municipal coordinators across the country. There are 14 Roma regional coordinators and 163 Roma municipal advisors.

Police officially put the fight against crimes motivated by xenophobia among the most important priorities. On May 21, 2014, Czech government approved an anti-extremism strategy, providing the media with hate crime statistics and ensuring regular publication of them on Interior Ministry website, as well as numerous measures to counter and prevent extremism.

In 2009 the Czech Republic has adopted the concept for the integration of Roma in 2010-2013 “in order to improve the social, economic and political position of the Roma”. In terms of this program, the program of social housing was carried out in review period. Representatives of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports created a website in 2012, which should serve as a guide for teachers to prevent the dissemination of racist ideas in schools. Police and experts in conflict resolution have trained teachers in the framework of “Neo-Nazism: threats and danger”.

In May 2014, Czech Republic adopted a Roma Integration Strategy until 2020, establishing the following goals: support Roma as an ethnic minority; provide equal access to education and employment; improve living conditions for Roma people; ensure equal access to social and health services; ensure protection from discrimination – establish free legal assistance for victims of discrimination. The strategy also focuses on more effective ways to integrate the Roma community.

On the other hand, Czech Republic remains one of the most troubled countries in the EU in matters of discrimination of Roma children in education. In addition, the Czech Republic has not ratified the protocol № 12 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms that provides a general prohibition of discrimination, despite the appeal of the PACE.

While there are official statistics on hate crime, many human rights activists believe that victims often avoid reporting crimes against them, fearing retribution or unfair treatment by the authorities.

According to the Amnesty International report for 2013 the Czech police in some cases very reluctantly looked into cases of fraud, human trafficking and extortion of foreign migrant workers in the forest industry. Additionally, the lawyers of the victims were concerned that the delay in the criminal proceedings lead to the loss of important evidence.

In March, regional court in Usti-nad-Laboj sentenced a nationalist to five years in prison for murdering a Roma man. On the other hand, some actions of Czech law enforcement can be regarded as condoning xenophobia and extremism. On July 17, it was reported that a neo-Nazi who murdered a Roma man in 2001 was released from prison on parole, only spending three years inside. On September 10, Brno City Court acquitted all the accused in the publication of Hitler’s speeches, not finding a criminal offense in this act. Court decided that authors of Adolf Hitler: Projevy published historical documents, which cannot be prosecuted by law. On October 16, prosecutor Jan Petrascheck appealed the verdict in the Regional Court. On January 1st 2013 President Vaclav Klaus announced an amnesty, which covered condemned radical nationalists.

In 2016, the police developed a new Extremist Crime Investigation Guide that addresses hate crimes and how to deal with victims of hate crimes. In the same year, as part of the Campaign Against Hate Violence, 300 police officers were trained in investigating hate crimes and how to work with victims of hate crimes. Civil society organizations participated in training activities, and civil society group In Iustitia developed a guide to combating hate crimes and providing support to victims of hate crimes for the police. In 2017, In IUSTITIA trained 257 police officers, officials and municipal police officers on hate crimes.

In April 2019, the Prosecutor General's Office, the Judicial Academy and the OSCE/ODIHR signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of the Hate Crimes Prosecutor Training (PAHCT) program. Under the agreement, ODIHR-trained trainers will conduct PAHCT training for prosecutors representing all prosecution offices in the country.

In 2020, the Ministry of Justice continued to provide financial support to the NGO In Iustitia, in particular its work to support victims of hate crimes. Funding is based on Law no. 45/2013 Sat. on Victims of Crime, which transposed the “EU Victims Directive” (Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 laying down minimum standards for the rights, support and protection of victims of crime and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220 /PVD).

In general, from 2016 to 2020 in the Czech Republic, 173 hate crime cases were investigated. At the same time, the court issued 268 sentences.

In May 2021, the Government approved the new Roma Equality, Inclusion and Participation Strategy 2021-2030, which was led by Roma representatives. According to observers, the strategy required more research and data collection to address the lack of data and statistics on the Roma community. The strategy also included the creation of an Ombudsman specialized in Roma issues.

In early 2021, the government launched a new National Plan for the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities 2021-2025, the seventh such plan since 1992. Like previous plans, the new plan is built on the basis of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The experts regarded the approval and implementation of the plan as a positive step, but noted that recommendations from previous plans were not always implemented.

In July 2021, after a decade of advocacy, the government passed a law to compensate women who were subjected to involuntary sterilization between 1966 and 2012. Eligible women are entitled to compensation of 300,000 crowns ($14,000). According to some estimates, over 1,000 women, mostly Roma, were sterilized during this period without their knowledge or full and informed consent.

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