Twenty-eight years ago Czechs took to the streets to demonstrate for basic human rights and freedoms. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since and many Czechs today are asking themselves where those ideals went. Sociologist Jan Hartl, head of the STEM polling agency, has been closely monitoring the change of mood in Czech society over that time. I asked him to explain how people’s priorities have changed over the years.
The Czech Republic’s human rights record came under scrutiny at the
United Nations on Monday. Among the recommendations made were for the
country to improve the integration of Roma in Czech society, step up the
fight against racism, xenophobia and islamophobia and strive for full
The Czech government was praised for ending the practice of segregating Romany children in special schools and reaching agreement on the buy-out of a pig farm located on the site of a former concentration camp for Romanies during WWII in order to make way for a dignified memorial to the victims.
The full list of recommendations should be made available by November 10th.
The Universal Periodic Review, through which each UN member country is examined once every five years, allows governments to review a country’s human rights record and make recommendations for improvements. In the last scrutiny the Czech Republic received 136 recommendations and fulfilled 129 of them.
The Czech Republic’s human rights record will come under scrutiny at the
United Nations on Monday. The Universal Periodic Review, through which each
UN member country is examined once every five years, will allow governments
to review the Czech Republic‘s human rights record and make
recommendations for improvements.
According to a government report the Czech Republic received 136 recommendations for improvements five years ago and fulfilled 129 of them.
The head of the Constitutional Court Pavel Rychetský has said an important
point is being missed when it comes to discussion of direct democracy in
the Czech Republic, including a general referendum bill promoted by Czech
parties such as ANO and Freedom and Direct Democracy.
He added he was slightly irritated by discussions on adopting direct democracy unless questions on why and under what circumstances and conditions it was needed were properly debated and answered first. He said no such discussion was taking place.
He made the comments in a debate on the 25th anniversary of the Czech Republic’s Constitution. Some have argued that instead of deepening democracy, such a general referendum bill could have the opposite effect.
Ježíšek’s grandchildren ( Santa’s grandchildren) is the name of a nationwide charity project launched by Czech Radio. It aims to bring a smile to the faces of abandoned, elderly, people who have no family and friends to cheer them up. The aim is to encourage members of the public to grant these people a wish as a special Christmas gift in a scheme that should interconnect generations and revive the true spirit of Christmas. I spoke to Marietta Prajslerová, one of the project organizers at Czech Radio, about what it involves and how the idea
The Czech NGO Brontosauri v Himalájích has been helping the village of Mulbekh, in Little Tibet, for ten years now. Attention is focused around the local primary school which has grown from strength to strength. Czech volunteers are engaged in a wide variety of activities, the latest project being to teach the children of Mulbekh to play hockey. I spoke to Jiří Sázel from the NGO about how he has helped the children of Mulbekh and what he has gained in return.
The Forum 2000 conference held under the motto Strengthening Democracy in
Uncertain Times is due to end in Prague on Tuesday with a closing debate on
what can be done in defence of democracy.
The three-day conference focussed on threats to democracy in the present day such as corruption, organized crime and a rise in populism and extremism. Attention was also devoted to the impact of social networks and the so called post-truth era on democracy.
Former Spanish prime minister Felipe Gonzalez warned that functioning democratic political systems had only been maintained in Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand which is roughly 27 percent of the whole world. He said these states had a duty to defend and support democracy around the world.
Democracy is seriously threatened in the present-day world due to a rise in
corruption, organized crime, populism and extremism, participants in the
Forum 2,000 conference concluded in the first panel debate on Monday.
The conference which brings together thinkers from around the globe is also focusing on the impact of the social media on democracy. German political analyst Yasha Mounk pointed out that thanks to social networks extremists have become more voluble and more connected, a process that has fuelled populism in many states.
Former Spanish prime minister Felipe Gonzáles noted that functional democratic systems had only survived in Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand which is roughly 27 percent of the world.
The 21st Forum 2,000 conference opens in Prague on Sunday. The annual
event, established by the late president Vaclav Havel, brings together
personalities and thinkers from around the world to discuss issues related
to democracy and human rights.
This year’s theme is strengthening democracy in uncertain times and will focus on the impact of social media on democracy, the situation in Turkey and other topics.
Among the participants this year are Albert II, Prince of Monaco and the former Austrian president Heinz Fischer.
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