Prague, Oct 22 (CTK) – The United Nations’ criticism of the Czech way of treating refugees is inappropriate, as the Czech Republic is trying to observe laws, while refugees enjoy decent conditions here, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) told journalists Thursday.

He said U.N. representatives may come to the Czech Republic to see the situation with their own eyes.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, had accused the Czech Republic of systematic violation of refugees’ rights, voicing concern over the xenophobic public discourse, including Islamophobic statements by Czech President Milos Zeman.

He wrote that the Czech authorities often keep immigrants in detention for 40 to 90 days and subject them to personal checks in order to take their money with which to cover the costs of their accommodation in refugee detention centres.

Czech Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier (CSSD) told CTK that the legislation does not allow to collect fees from refugees for their accommodation and catering in detention facilities.

Dienstbier said he has for long emphasised that, for example, families with children should not be placed in detention centres.

He said he is going to submit proposals how to improve the situation to the cabinet.

“Foreigners must be provided with legal assistance, it ensues from the EU law. It is impossible to collect fees from them for accommodation and catering if they are detained within the Dublin III regime, as the legal order does not allow this,” Dienstbier said.

Sobotka called the U.N. criticism inappropriate.

“The Czech Republic has been striving to observe international conventions for a long time, not only amid the current migrant crisis,” he said.

In the past months, the Czech Republic raised the capacity of local refugee facilities in order to improve conditions in them, Sobotka said.

“I think no one is opposed to representatives of the [UN] organisation coming to the Czech Republic. We will definitely gladly show all our detention facilities to them. They can inspect the facilities thoroughly and I think they would find out that refugees are placed in standard, decent and reasonable conditions in the Czech Republic,” Sobotka added.

Czech MEP Pavel Telicka, the government ANO movement’s foreign political expert, said he considers the U.N.’s criticism partly rightful.

He said the Czech Interior Ministry, which operates refugee centres in the country, has been placing families with children there at variance with Czech court verdicts.

“The Czech legislation does not enable the detained foreigners’ access to cell phones and the Internet. This must be changed. However, I cannot see any reason to take money away from refugees, which leaves some of them without any means,” Telicka added.

Last week, conditions in the refugee centres were criticised as being “worse than in prisons” by Ombudsman Anna Sabatova and by Czech NGOs working with refugees.