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NGO again criticises ministry’s approach to refugees

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Prague, Oct 12 (CTK) – The Czech Organisation for Aid to Refugees (OPU) criticised the Interior Ministry’s approach to refugees again yesterday, mainly its decision to concentrate the refugee families with children in the Bela Jezova detention centre, central Bohemia, where the conditions are unsuitable.
In doing so, the ministry acts at variance with court decisions and with the recommendations from the Government Human Rights Council and international organisations, OPU director Martin Rozumek told CTK.
“Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) has decided to disrespect the Supreme Administration Court’s (NSS) decision and the recent resolution by the Government Human Rights Council and he has again started concentrating refugee families with children in our worst detention centre in Bela Jezova,” Rozumek said.
Earlier this year, the NSS scrapped the Czech police decision to place a Palestinian family in the Bela Jezova centre over unsuitable conditions in it, Rozumek pointed out.
Czech NGOs have repeatedly criticised the placing of migrant families with children in what they call a “semi-prison facility” in Bela Jezova.
In reaction to the criticism, the refugee facilities’ administration previously said the children are not detained in Bela Jezova, but they are only “accommodated there together with detained” adults, and that families are placed in a softer-regime part of the facility.
The OPU says the situation in Bela Jezova is serious. Eighty men sleep on the floor in a locked gym. There is no health care, no paediatrician in the facility, it says.
“The Interior Ministry has been incapable of securing an inhalator for a Syrian boy. He has been taken away by an ambulance four times already and his family had to pay for the transfers,” Rozumek said.
“Pregnant women do not undergo the necessary check-ups. Women have no access to sanitary aids. Child formula and food are lacking,” he said.
At night, the refugees are woken up and checked by the police with dogs, Rozumek continued.
The inmates complain that the items that people give to charity and humanitarian groups in aid of refugees do not reach them at all.
Some say on their arrival in the detention facility, its management seized their money which it used to cover their accommodation costs. When releasing the refugees from the facility, the authority did not return the rest of their money to them, but gave them only 400 crowns as a subsidy for travel expenses.
The foreigner police said earlier yesterday that they detained 33 illegal migrants, 25 men, four women and four children, in the past week. Almost one-third of them were Afghanis and another third Syrians.
According to Rozumek, the Czech approach to refugees is awkward, in view of so low a number of them entering the country.
“The Czech asylum and migration policy is xenophobic. The interior minister considers every foreigner dangerous. The approach of the CSSD prime minister [Bohuslav Sobotka] towards war refugees is undignified for both the foreigners and the Czech Republic image abroad,” Rozumek said.
He said the last verdict related to the conditions in Bela Jezova was the Prague City Court’s decision a few days ago, which supported a family protesting against having been placed in Bela Jezova. The ministry should have directly sent the family to a more suitable facility, Rozumek said, referring to the court verdict.
($1=23.856 crowns)

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