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UPR of Czech Republic: Progress on discrimination but more focus needed on Roma
Wednesday, 24 October 2012 14:19

 

The 14th session of the Universal Periodic Review began on Monday 22 October. The first State to be examined by the working group was the Czech Republic, with a delegation headed by the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Vladimir Galuska.  61 States participated in the interactive dialogue, raising similar concerns from those of the first UPR cycle in June 2008. Recurrent recommendations included: the implementation of legal framework to advance anti-discrimination provisions for women and children, the ratification of the Convention of the Rights of Person with Disabilities, and the full integration and equal opportunities of Roma people in society.  During the review, States also recognised the progress that has been made by the Czech Republic establishing the ‘Government of Roma Minority Affairs,’ which leads efforts to integrate the Roma minority equally in all areas of life.  However, States expressed major concern over the slow progress in integrating Roma individuals in mainstream education and in public service jobs.

 

Regarding the level of employment of Roma people in the public service, the delegation was unable to present statistics due to the law of data protection that prevents monitoring the exact number of ethnic groups in public jobs. However, it emphasised the number of projects focusing on the employment of Roma individuals in public service, taking advantage of their knowledge of local affairs.  As for the integration of Roma children in mainstream schools, the delegation affirmed that temporary placements of socially disadvantaged children in special schools for mental disabilities would be abolished and integration in mainstream schools will be prioritised. Nonetheless, they made clear that progress on integration of Roma children was slowing and that substantive change must be considered after the beginning of the new school year.   

 

New recommendations presented by States during the 2nd cycle included:

  • To ensure national legislation includes a clear definition of child pornography; and to review legislation with a view to criminalising child prostitution.
  • To formulate a national plan to combat racism and xenophobia towards minorities, especially Roma individuals.
  • To devise legislation to guarantee that foreigners without legal residence are able to apply for judicial review concerning administrative orders of removal.
  • To take steps to eliminate discriminatory practices in housing and employment to comply fully with the 2009 Anti-Discrimination Act.
  • To continue to take measures to remove discrimination against ethnic minorities, including those measures recommended by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in September 2011.

 

The delegation was very responsive to many of the recommendations raised by States.  Experts in the field of education, justice, and minority rights had the opportunity to answer in detail the issues presented by States in the interactive dialogue.  All members of the delegation were positive about the progress the country had made and assured States that they would take the dialogue into account in their efforts to advance human rights in the Czech Republic. 

 

The Czech Republic received a total of 136 recommendations. It will examine all the recommendations and provide its responses no later than the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council in March 2013. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 11:22
 
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