Choirs across the Czech Republic are holding concerts on Wednesday as part
of a charity drive called “Sing for UNICEF”.
Proceeds will go towards helping implement a United Nation’s programme aimed at reducing the high infant mortality rate in underdeveloped countries.
At last count, 182 local choirs had joined the effort, with 64 concerts scheduled for Wednesday. It is the biggest project by the local UNICEF branch since its founding in 1991.
Police have revealed that the deadly synthetic drug which killed two people
in Moravia was distributed by a boy in primary school, among others. As a
minor he will not be prosecuted.
The boy gave the drug to a 15-year-old friend who ended up in hospital. 23 people were treated for intoxication after taking the synthetic marihuana-type drug. Eleven people have been charged in connection with the case.
“Adopt a Doll, Save a life” is a project launched by the Czech branch of UNICEF fifteen years ago. Over that time it has helped to save the lives of some 30,000 children. Ahead of the Christmas holidays the Czech mission to the United Nations and the Czech branch of UNICEF brought the project to New York, organizing a charity auction at the National Bohemian Hall. I asked the head of the Czech branch of UNICEF Pavla Gomba to tell me more about the event and the project itself.
The regional court in Usti nad Labem has opened the biggest case of online
sexual abuse of children reported to date. The man charged allegedly abused
over 150 girls under 15 years of age in this manner getting them to send
him photos and videos of themselves and threatening to put them online
unless they deliver more.
The suspect faces seven different charges and if convicted could get up to 12 years in jail. The case has highlighted the need for parents to be more aware of their children’s activities on the Internet.
The Czech minister of education, Kateřina Valachová, is proposing tougher action against secondary school students who physically or verbally harass teachers or other pupils, iDnes.cz reported on Tuesday. Under a plan due to come into effect at the start of the next academic year, students should be automatically expelled for serious cases of such behaviour. The minister told the news website that there was sufficient legislation in place to deal with attacks on teachers; however, more must be done to ensure such cases come to court, she said. Ms. Valachová blamed the school management for a case this year in which a teacher in Prague died after suffering abuse from students.
Some 1400 children had to be removed from parental custody over abuse or neglect last year and placed with their relatives, foster parents or to children’s homes, according to the annual report on child protection by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. The number of cases involving social workers has increased as well. While in 2005, social workers dealt with less than 2000 cases, last year the figures stood at around 9,400. According to experts, the growing figures have been caused mainly by greater awareness of the problem.
Hundreds of children are taken away from their families every year because of abuse and neglect and the number keeps increasing, according to an annual report on child protection by the Ministry of Social Affairs. The number of cases involving social workers has doubled in the past ten years. While in 2005, social workers were involved in 4000 cases, in 2014 the figures stood at nearly 8,500. Over 1200 children had to move to their relatives, children’s homes or foster parents in 2014.
The Norwegian Ambassador to Prague Siri Ellen Sletner has said that the Norwegian courts will act as speedily as possible in dealing with the case of the Michalák brothers and the family will be able to make use of all the legal services Norway offers in such circumstances. Ms Michaláková lost the right to have regular contact with her children on the suspicion of past sexual abuse but the allegations were never proven in court. Recently, the Norwegian authorities ruled the younger child could be adopted by his foster parents and that the mother would no longer be allowed even limited access to the older boy. The decision has triggered strong criticism from the Czech authorities. The children’s mother has said she would explore all avenues of appeal in Norway and if that fails to take the matter to the European Court of Human Rights. The Norwegian ambassador expressed the hope that the controversial case would not damage the two countries’ good relations.
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.