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NGOs urge Czech politicians not to ignore human rights abuses by authoritarian regimes

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Prague, Aug 31 (CTK) – NGOs have asked Czech politicians not to ignore human rights abuses by authoritarian regimes, Adela Pospichalova, from the Czech Center for Human Rights and Democratization, told CTK yesterday.
Their report sums up the basic principles Czech officials should take into account while on foreign trips to dictatorial countries, Pospichalova said.
“We dislike the rising number of our politicians’ journeys to the countries where people are threatened with torture, imprisonment or even death over their critical attitudes,” Simon Panek, director of the People in Need, has said.
“These journeys contradict the traditional Czech foreign policy that is based on support for human rights,” Panek said.
The appeal was signed by 30 Czech NGOs, including the People in Need, the Forum 2000, the Czech Helsinki Committee, the Prague Pride and the Organization for Aid to Refugees.
The document also deals with meetings with dissidents and independent journalists as well as caution in public statements that can be abused by the local propaganda.
“By virtue of its long-standing support for dissidents, the Czech Republic has gained recognition in the world. This is clearly our positive identity externally,” Forum 2000 director Jakub Klepal said.
“It is a mistake that the ill-conceived programmes of the trips of some Czech politicians deprive us of such a good reputation,” he added.
Though the NGOs did not mention anyone, this may be a veiled reference to President Milos Zeman’s forthcoming visits to China and Azerbaijan.

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