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Legislation Impacting Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Radicalisation Efforts

Legislation Impacting Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Radicalisation Efforts

Despite being held in high regard, Czech anti-discrimination legislation contains certain missteps. Religious Organisations Act of 2005 can be considered discriminatory, which significantly limits the right of religious communities to establish their own organizations - charities, schools and medical facilities.

It is worth mentioning Article 405 Penal Code, which foresees for liability for “approving crimes of the communist regime,” along with the liability for denying the Holocaust. In the context of the imperfections of the law on lustration, as well as imperfect definition of “crimes of the communist regime”, this article makes it possible to discriminate against a wide range of people, including members of the Communist Party of the Czech Republic, which has an opposition faction in parliament. In addition, the adjustment of the communist and Nazi regimes is clearly political in nature, is not correct and diminishes the value of the Holocaust as an exceptional manifestation of genocide against certain populations.

In 2013, at the initiative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Czech Republic amendments were adopted to the Act on Residence of Foreigners, which came into force on 1st of January 2014. According to human rights activists, changes in the law are discriminating against foreigners, because they:

  • introduce an obligation for all foreigners, including EU citizens, to gain permanent residency in the country (not to be confused with registration) in the case of being in it for more than 90 days;
  • give officials the authority to deny a residence permit to any foreigner in the event of his debts or non-payment (for example, fines for traffic violations or non-payment of insurance companies), and other (!) information that law enforcement agencies may not like it;
  • introduce special visas for foreign workers for a period of less than 1 year obliging to leave the Czech Republic after the expiration of the visa, as well as not providing the possibility of family reunification and not counting this period towards the residence time required to obtain a permanent residence;
  • Ministry of Internal Affairs received the right to veto, according to which foreigners who have obtained the refusal to obtain a residence permit will not be able to find out the cause of failure and to challenge it in court;
  • set new requirements for the financial income of foreigners. In such a way, foreigners residing alone are required to provide confirmation of receipt of a monthly income equal to the amount of at least 4 times the subsistence minimum, for a family of two people - 7 subsistence minimums, for a family of three - 10 minimums and for families of 4 or more people - 13 subsistence minimums.

Five years after signing the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) in 2017, the Czech Republic has yet to ratify it. In March 2021, the Government Commissioner for Human Rights stated that after the October parliamentary elections, the new government would decide whether to propose ratification to Parliament.

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