Monday, 21 April 2014

Activists call on PM to keep councils under his office

11 December 2012

Prague, Dec 10 (CTK) - Czech human rights activists asked Prime Minister Petr Necas yesterday not to allow cuts in the budget of the Government Office and the shifting of government councils under the respective ministries out of fear of a worsening of human rights protection in the country.

The activists wrote in an open letter that the importance and influence of the consulting bodies, the human rights commissioner as well as the government social inclusion agency would be weakened.

The letter, written on Human Rights Day falling on yesterday, was signed by seven NGOs, women's lobbies and former human rights commissioner Petr Uhl (in office in 1998-2001).

"We consider the proposed reduction of the Government Office as a sign of that the Czech government is not going to meet the human rights protection and social inclusion commitments it undertook in the past," the activists wrote.

Members of the government councils are representatives of particular ministries, representatives of NGOs and experts.

The letter authors wrote that the consulting bodies are "the sole standing platform" for experts to meet civil service employees.

The Czech Helsinki Committee (CHV) says the state of human rights has worsened in the Czech Republic of late.

Its 2011 annual report said cuts made within austerity measures impacted on seniors, incomplete families, children, the unemployed and the handicapped.

The inclusion of Romany children in ordinary schools stopped, hatred of Romanies increased, the number of attacks on sexual minorities went up and the overcrowding of prisons further rose, the CHV said.

Women's organisations point to insufficient measures allowing women to bring into harmony employment and the family.

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