The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has made a U-turn on a thorny issue that concerns thousands of women working abroad who are planning a family. After years when mums who commuted to work abroad were refused maternity benefits in the Czech Republic, the ministry has reviewed its policy on the matter and even make a small retro-active amendment. The decision was taken following criticism from the Ombudsman’s Office.
The Norwegian child welfare service has taken initial steps to open the way for the adoption of the younger of two Czech brothers who were taken from their parents in 2011. Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said on Wednesday. The authorities took the step despite previous claim that adoption was not being considered. According to information received by the Czech Office for International Legal Protection of Children in April, the child welfare service asked the regional authorities to launch the proceedings that would enable the adoption of the younger son of Eva Michaláková. The boys were taken from their parents over alleged sexual abuse. Although charges were never filed in the case, the brothers have lived in separate foster homes since.
The future of some 470 children who were placed in children’s homes operated by the Fund for Children in Need is uncertain. To this day, the charity owes the state more than 22 million crowns in overdue social and health insurance payments for its employees, and currently faces a threat of property seizure.
The Constitutional Court will review a law banning gays and lesbians living in a registered partnership from adopting their partner’s child. A city court in Prague in March filed a proposal for abolishing the provision, which is included in the law on registered partnerships. According to the current legislation, gays and lesbians can adopt children only if they don’t live in a registered partnership. The law has been repeatedly criticised by a number of human rights organisations and initiatives. The Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Jiří Dienstbier has also been pushing for the abolition of the provision, calling it absurd and unconstitutional.
The lower house on Wednesday passed an amendment to the law that will prevent the closure of outdoor nurseries known as forest kindergartens. According to the new legislation, the alternative nurseries can be granted an exemption from the strict hygiene norms that apply to traditional preschool facilities. The so-called Children Groups Act was passed through the lower house in November to provide a legal framework for child-care alternatives, which appeared as a result of a lack of places in regular kindergartens.
Two Czech women released by kidnappers after two years are reportedly healthy but need rest to recover from the ordeal, their families told the Czech News Agency on Monday. Their families thanked the Turkish IHH humanitarian organisation for its help, the Czech cabinet for support, and all those who expressed solidarity. “For us, it is beyond words to express our feeling of happiness and relief at having the girls back at home,” the families of Hana Humpalová and Antonie Chrastecká wrote in a statement released to ČTK. They thanked all who contributed to the young women´s release. Unknown gunmen abducted the young women, then aged 24, in southwestern Pakistan in March 2013 when they were travelling by bus from Iran to India. Two videos of the girls appeared on the internet in June and October 2013. Czech diplomacy did not comment on the case for fear it could jeopardize the chances of their being safely released.
The mother of two Czech boys who were taken into foster care in Norway in 2011 over allegations of sexual abuse, is to be allowed to see her children separately later this month. Eva Michalíková, who has been fighting a battle to see her children returned, on the grounds that no sexual abuse was proven and no charges were pressed, refused to reveal further details regarding the planned meeting, saying she did not want it disrupted by the media or used against her. Ms. Michalíková last saw her children, aged six and nine, a year ago.
Zdeněk Kapitán, the head of the Brno-based International Office for the Legal Protection of Children, is set to go to Norway on Tuesday to discuss the situation of two Czech children removed from the family by Norwegian social services with local authorities. The children were taken away in 2011on suspicion of sexual abuse; a year later, they were placed in foster families despite the fact that a police investigation found no evidence of abuse. Mr Kapitán is set to meet with the representatives of Norwegian social services as well as with the lawyers of the boys’ mother, who last year filed a lawsuit against the decision of the social services.
A Czech national who was wanted for abducting his two children following a lost battle for custody is reported to have been arrested in the west Bohemian city of Plzen. The two boys, aged nine and five, are back with their mother in Austria after 18 months. The Czech police have said they will release more information on the case on Monday.