Aktuality

18. 11. 2020 10:34

Report on the Situation of National Minorities in the Czech Republic in 2019

Based on the Statute of the Government Council for National Minorities approved by Government Resolution No 1034 of 10 October 2001, as amended, the Government of the Czech Republic receives the Report on the Situation of National Minorities in the Czech Republic (the “Report”) each year. The text of the submitted Report has been drawn up by the Office of the Government Council for the Roma Minority and the Secretariat of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic for National Minorities, which is part of the Department of Human Rights and Protection of Minorities of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, based on the supporting documentation provided by ministries, local and regional governments and the representatives of national minorities who are members of the Government Council for National Minorities (the “Council”).

The basic rights of national minorities stem from the Constitution of the Czech Republic, the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, by which the Czech Republic is bound, and Act No. 273/2001 Coll., on the rights of national minorities and on amendments to some related acts, as amended by later versions and some other acts. Act No. 198/2009 Coll., on equal treatment and legal means of protection against discrimination and on amendments to some acts (the Antidiscrimination Act), is another important legal instrument that provides protection to national minorities.

The objective of the Report is the same as in previous years: to map the activities and changes that occurred in the past year and that directly pertain to the situation of national minorities living in the Czech Republic. The 2019 Report has not identified any fundamental changes to the status of national minorities. As in previous years, 14 national minorities were represented in the Council: Belarusian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Hungarian, German, Polish, Roma, Rusyn, Russian, Greek, Slovak, Serbian, Ukrainian and Vietnamese. In 2019, the Czech Republic continued discussions with international bodies, particularly within the Council of Europe, which monitor the Czech Republic’s observance of its commitments in this area. These commitments are described in Chapter 1.10. Current national minority issues, drawn up based on the experience of the national minority members represented in the Council, are set out in Chapter 2. The other chapters provide information about the institutional framework in place to uphold the rights of national minorities and about possible and already executed legislative changes related to the rights of national minorities. The use of national minority languages, including education in these languages, and the issuance of national minority publications are addressed in Chapters 5, 6 and 7. In line with Section 12 of Government Regulation No .98/2002 Coll., establishing the conditions and methods of provision of subsidies from the state budget for the activities national minorities and for promotion of integration of the Roma community, as amended, the Report also contains an overview of the evaluation of the use of the grants and subsidies provided from the state budget for the activities of national minorities in 2019. Chapter 8 looks at the financing of activities benefiting national minorities.

Each year, the Office of the Public Defender of Rights (the Ombudswoman) responds to complaints of possible discrimination against national minorities. In 2019, the ombudswoman responded to 58 complaints of discrimination due to race or ethnicity (43 complaints) or nationality (15 complaints).

Each year, the Office of the President of the Republic (the “Office of the President”) also makes a statement on the rights of national minorities in the Report. One of the many activities of the Office of the President is to respond to letters from citizens; it is of course not possible to identify from the correspondence or communication whether the writer is a member of a national minority. An explicit declaration that the writer belongs to a minority appears rarely, and if it does, then it is usually a member of the Roma community who is contacting the Office of the President with social problems, or a member of the Russian community with business issues or visa issues related to family members entering the 6 country. As regards the president himself, in 2019 he met occasionally with representatives of national minorities and individuals, especially in connection with his visits to the various regions of the Czech Republic. The president also dealt with the status of national minorities in the Czech Republic during discussions with new ambassadors, meetings with public administrators (ministers and communal politicians), during regular meetings of the expert team in Lány and at bilateral meetings with representatives of those countries whose nationals live in the Czech Republic as a minority.

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