Berlin/Prague, April 16 (CTK) – Roma are still discriminated against, especially in housing and education, in the Czech Republic, according to the annual report on the state of human rights in Europe released by Amnesty International (AI).
The report also criticises the Czech government proposals relating to the housing benefits that may pose a risk of homelessness to a part of the population.
AI says migrants, too, face discrimination in the Czech Republic.
AI highlights the position of the European Commission from last year saying the Czech Republic lacks accessible and quality social housing, warning that homelessness as well as personal debts are growing.
It joined the criticism of NGOs regarding the bill on housing benefits which introduces tougher criteria and may deny the benefits to the persons living in hostels. Thousands of families may thus lose their incomes.
AI warns that many Czech towns have declared the zones “with an increased occurrence of socially undesirable phenomena.” Due to them, their residents cannot receive some housing benefits.
The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has described this practice as discriminatory as it mainly affects the areas with a sizeable Roma population.
The AI report also expresses concern about the continued existence of segregated schools, mostly with Roma pupils.
AI points out the CERD position that Roma children are excessively included in the programmes for children with minor mental disorders and that last year, Roma made up just under 4 percent of the total elementary school pupils, while their proportion in the “reduced educational programmes” was over 29 percent.
In the sphere of migration, AI criticises the practice of Czech authorities that keep asylum seekers, including children, in the centres for expulsion.
The report also warns of the way the Czech authorities treated a group of Chinese asylum seekers. In 2017, 78 Chinese citizens asked for asylum in the Czech Republic due to religious persecution, but in 2018, 70 such requests were turned down.
AI also says that the Chamber of Deputies has not ratified the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, while only a small number of perpetrators of this crime are tried in the Czech Republic.
AI also criticises continued Czech deliveries of arms to Saudi Arabia and the coalition it heads that fights the Shia rebels in Yemen.
AI warns of the dangers that the weapons can be used for violation of human rights and humanitarian law in the Yemen conflict.