USAID: public image of Czech NGO sector deteriorating
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has ranked the Czech Republic third among post-communist nations in the sustainability of the civil society sector for 2017, the Czech News Agency reported on Saturday.
The USAID annual report compares the situation in 24 former Eastern bloc countries, focusing on the legal environment, financial background of the NGOs, their organisation, implementation of interests, provision of services, infrastructure and public image.
It suggests that the overall sustainability of Czech NGO sector remained unchanged. However, the sector’s public image deteriorated as the current government portrayed it as unreliable and incompetent, which resulted in growing public distrust in NGOs.
The report also says that governments expressing hostility to established democratic norms, practices, and institutions are increasingly common in Central and Eastern European countries.
In December 1988 Francois Mitterrand had breakfast with leading dissidents in Prague, providing a major shot in the arm to the Czechoslovak opposition. The Czech Foreign Ministry is now reported to be planning similar events on the 30th anniversary of Mitterrand’s gesture to demonstrate the country’s support for human rights.
On a three-day business-oriented visit to China, Czech President Miloš Zeman personally promoted Czech products at the China International Import Expo fair, slammed protectionist measures by the US and called on entrepreneurs to show courage in winning new trade deals. Meanwhile, Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček opened a new chapter in Czech-Chinese dialogue: human rights issues.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, who is part of the Czech
delegation to China, on Monday met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
Minister Petříček brought up the issue of human rights in China
stressing that in future they should be part of the Czech-Chinese dialogue.
He said that as a member of the UN Council for Human Rights, the Czech Republic would be issuing recommendations in the field of human rights as concerns China as well as other countries. Since a meeting of the council on China is due on Tuesday, minister Petříček refused to reveal them to the press in advance.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says he will suggest to government that the Czech Republic doesn’t sign the UN’s Global Compact for Migration, citing ambiguities in its interpretation. The decision mirrors those concluded by the Czech Republic’s central European neighbours Austria and Hungary who have already announced they will not sign the agreement.
One of the events accompanying this year’s Forum 2000 conference was the Festival of Democracy, which featured discussions on what freedom and democracy mean for young people in the Czech Republic today. Given the mixed bag of opinions surrounding the current direction of the democratic system in the Czech Republic, I went to the discussion in order to find out more about how democracy is explained to teenagers and what they think of it.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has criticized central European
member states for refusing to accept mandatory quotas agreed in 2015 to
take in refugees, and especially for rejecting his own proposal to at least
host unaccompanied refugee children without families.
Juncker said in an interview with the French daily Le Monde published over the weekend that their stance was "scandalous" and failed to demonstrate even "basic solidarity" with other EU states.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš last month refused to even consider taking in 50 orphans from Syria but has since softened his stance.
A “Friends of Tibet” group has just been established by fifty deputies and senators in the Czech Parliament. The news was announced on Tuesday at the Forum 2000 conference in Prague. The group, established by the Pirate Party along with the Civic and Christian Democrats and TOP09 aims to focus on human rights issues as well as environmental and cyber protection.
The Czech Interior Ministry has proposed sending 50 million crowns in aid
to Iraq, Mali, Nigeria and Chad as part of the country’s policy of
helping countries of migrant origin.
The money is to be used to improve the countries’ infrastructure, build houses for migrants who wish to return home, clean water facilities and health care.
The projects are to be overseen by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the NGO Caritas Internationalis.
The government is to debate the proposal at its regular session on Wednesday.
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