Czech Republic expels Iraqi Christian refugees for attempting to cross into Germany
- Interior Minister Milan Chovanec announced the 25 refugees have seven days to arrange their return to Iraq.
- Chovanec accused the Iraqis of “abusing the country’s generosity” after they were caught at the German border and returned.
- The Czech Republic agreed to accept 153 Christian refugees from Iraq in December, but only 89 have been resettled so far and Chovanec has suspended the relocation program.
“Czechs to return Iraqi Christians who tried to move to Germany, interior minister says” (Reuters)
“Czechs To Repatriate 25 Iraqi Christians Who Tried To Cross Into Germany” (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
Slovakia and the Czech Republic criticized for poor efforts at integrating Roma citizens
- The Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner highlighted educational segregation and high drop-out rates in Slovakia as evidence of the failure of Slovakia’s anti-discrimination measures.
- Many Slovak Romas live in squalid conditions in illegal settlements, with only 17% entering secondary education according to a 2010 UN survey.
- A report by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance also pointed to ethnic segregation in Czech schools as inhibiting integration and lowering opportunity for Czech Romas.
“Although Slovakia’s anti-discrimination framework is comprehensive, it provides a differing degree of protection for various vulnerable social groups and must be reformed to close all protection gaps.”
“European human rights watchdog slams Roma segregation in Slovakia, Czech Republic” (Reuters)
Missteps in the Czech Republic’s handling of migrants draw ire
- Czech police have discontinued numbering migrants by pen at the Breclav train station after human rights and Jewish advocacy groups expressed outrage.
- Authorities said the numbering, which critics said had resonance with Holocaust-era practices, had been an attempt to keep from separating families.
- Despite having had only a fraction of the asylum requests received by larger European countries, the Czech Republic has experienced a surge in anti-immigrant (largely anti-Muslim) sentiment.
“This incident shows how certain countries in Europe have been hit completely off guard. … The image of labeling refugees brings historical images of the Second World War to mind, and the police and border guards should understand the requirement under international conventions to treat migrants with the dignity they deserve. Countries can’t punish people for being migrants.”
Read the full story at the New York Times.
(Image Credit: Igor Zehl/CTK, via Associated Press)
Nearly half of Czechs support same-sex marriage in their country
- According to a new poll from the Public Opinion Research Centre (CVVM), 49% of Czechs support the legalization of same-sex marriage, while 47% oppose it.
- 75% support the establishment of some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples.
- Despite the support for same-sex marriage, 49% still remain opposed to same-sex couples adopting children, although the 44% in support is an increase from 19% a decade ago.
Read the full story at PinkNews.