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Czech News in English » Opinion » HN: Czechs apply unfair criteria on refugees, elite hypocrisy

HN: Czechs apply unfair criteria on refugees, elite hypocrisy

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Prague, Aug 10 (CTK) – Czechs tend to apply unfair criteria to the refugees coming to the country, and the approach of Czech political elites to them is hypocritical, Jan Kuzvart writes in daily Hospodarske noviny (HN).

When discussing the refugee wave, the Czechs demand the equality before law for themselves and the refugees. They want the same criteria and approach to be applied to all, Kuzvart writes.

However, a problem emerges when people adopt the role of infallible “social surveyors,” he says.

The Islamobphobic movements warn that Muslim refugees will prevail over Czechs and strip them of the freedom of speech one day. At the same time, however, they suggest that refugees be verbally supported by no one but the people who have accommodated them in their homes.

On the other hand, the criticism of refugees is allowed to everyone, by which the balance of people’s equal right to the freedom of speech is questioned, Kuzvart writes.

Refugees are often portrayed as inferior humans who could destroy “our life style,” he continues.

“However, an indivisible part of our life style is democracy, which we are dismantling by ourselves in advance by waving [model] gallows at [anti-migration demonstrations in] town squares and calling for ‘traitors’ to be stripped of civil rights,” Kuzvart writes.

Even a bigger problem is that the state, too, fails to observe single rules of the game, he continues.

Martin Rozumek, a lawyer and head of the Organisation For Aid To Refugees, wrote on the A2larm server on August 3 that the Czech authorities’ way of treating refugees in fact disrespects the international law, the EU directives and Czech court verdicts, Kuzvart writes.

For example, the state does not ensure free legal aid to the refugees, nor does it ensure legal representation for the people deprived of the freedom of movement, though it should do so, Kuzvart writes.

In addition, a hypocritical approach has been taken by Czech elites. President Milos Zeman wants the refugees to respect the rules that are valid in the Czech Republic, which is a rightful demand, Kuzvart writes.

However, Zeman simultaneously says he “does not want Islam” in the Czech Republic. This goes counter to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms that is a part of the Czech constitution and that explicitly guarantees people’s freedom of religion, Kuzvart points out.

In view of the inconsistence of Zeman’s positions, it probably surprises no one that Zeman vowed to fight “neo-Nazi groups” in his presidential inauguration speech in early 2013, but a couple of years later he publicly supported the We Don’s Want Islam in the Czech Republic group that the Interior Ministry describes as an extremist platform with rhetorics, demands and methods identical with the ultra-right camps’, Kuzvart writes.

Most shamefully, the Czech society applies different criteria to the strong and the weak, he continues.

Bowing to the EU, Prague approved its own “voluntary” refugee quotas after rejecting, for the sake of appearances, the quotas proposed by Brussels, he writes.

However, the number of refugees in the Czech Republic is low and only few Czechs have seen a Muslim with their own eyes. As a result, Czechs dare to warn against and incite hatred towards minorities, Kuzvart says.

The manoeuvring by Czechs between the defeatism towards the strong and pogroms against the weak is nothing new, but now they are trying to do both simultaneously, Kuzvart writes.

The Czechs should try to apply single criteria to all. Moral integrity is not to be sneezed at, he concludes.

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