Credit: Freepik

UN Human Rights Council Discusses State of Human Rights in Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, the convention has aroused strong emotions, being opposed by conservatives and the seven Christian churches. Photo credit: Freepik.

Geneva, Jan 24 (CTK) – The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) discussed the state of human rights in the Czech Republic yesterday, focusing on the Istanbul Convention against domestic and sexual violence and the situation of the Roma minority. A final report with recommendations to Prague is to be released on 10 February.

The UNHRC monitors the state of human rights in all 193 member states within the framework of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). After the presentation by the Czech Republic of its national report yesterday, representatives of all member countries had the opportunity to voice a brief commendation or recommendation.

Many countries, among them France and Liechtenstein, called on the Czech Republic to extend its definition of rape and ratify the Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe that condemns domestic violence, sexual molestation, forced marriages, so-called “honour crimes” and genital mutilation.

The convention also emphasises that women become victims of domestic and sexual violence far more often than men, and are also victims to mass rapes in armed conflicts. It outlines a system of relevant training of medical staff, police and judges to address violence against women.

The Czech government’s human rights commissioner, Klara Simackova Laurencikova, told CTK in December that she would propose a debate on the Czech ratification of the convention to the cabinet in 2023.

In the Czech Republic, the convention has aroused strong emotions, being opposed by conservatives and the seven Christian churches.

Another important issue discussed at the UNHRC yesterday was the discrimination faced by the Czech Republic’s Roma minority, in schools, housing and as instances of racial hatred. Representatives of countries such as Indonesia, India and Jordan called on the Czech Republic to take steps to address this situation.

Many countries, on the other hand, praised the progress the Czech Republic has made by adopting government strategies on the protection of children’s rights (Ghana), gender equality (Greece) and Roma integration (Ireland). The representative of Israel praised the Czech acceptance of Ukrainian refugees.

The Czech delegation presenting the national report at the UNHRC was led by Simackova Laurencikova and included officials from six ministries and the Government Office, reflecting the wide range of issues covered in the UPR.

Besides the national report, the UNHRC also discussed the assessment of human rights in the Czech Republic by international human rights organisations and by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The final report and recommendations for the Czech Republic will be submitted to the UNHRC for approval by the rapporteurs from Bangladesh, Romania and South Africa on 25 January. They will then be subject to a vote in the UNHRC on 27 January, before being released on 10 February.

“We will discuss the assessment not only with the cabinet but also with academics, experts, and people at concrete workplaces to be sure that everybody contributes to the implementation of the UPR. We will submit our report about the progress achieved in 2025,” said Simackova Laurencinkova.

This is the fourth UPR procedure dealing with the Czech Republic; the previous three took place in 2008, 2012 and 2017. In the national report submitted today, the Czech Republic stated that based on the previous UPR, it received 201 recommendations, of which 177 it has met and 24 taken into account.

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