Czechs Divided On Human Rights

A recent poll revealed the Czech people have rather limited interest in issues of human rights within their own society although they wish their government took a vigorous stand in dealing with human rights in the world. A mere eight percent of respondents believe the Czech Republic should do more to maintain the human rights of minorities in the nation. Those conducting the survey were shocked at the lack of interest in issues such as the rights of Roma citizens who face discrimination and persecution on a daily basis. Few people appear concerned about recent right wing extremist attacks on Romas in the city of Litvinov. As one Amnesty International official commented: “This is one of the most urgent human rights issues in our country, but there is only silence on the part of Czech officials.

Perhaps, the history of being part of a multicultural nation impacts the thinking of Czech people. Most witnessed the end of the multicultural nation of Czechoslovakia and apparently those in the Czech Republic do not appear to be disappointed the nation divided into separate ethnic and cultural groups. In the meantime, minorities such as the Roma daily encounter repression and denial of human rights.

Although, Czech people appear to support human rights in a general way, a recent poll indicates this issue no longer has the importance it once held in the nation. The poll reveals ordinary citizens believe their government should be concerned about human rights in the world outside but only a small percent are concerned about human rights issues in their own nation. Those who conducted the survey were distressed at the low number of people who supported minority rights such as those of Roma citizens. An Amnesty International spokesperson commented, “it’s a negative trend, and it’s worrying” coming after right wing bigots clashed with police while trying to drive out Romas from their community.

Of course, Czech citizens once were part of a multicultural nation that was torn asunder over issues of rights and this might impact their rather cool attitude toward dealing with minority issues in their own country. Amnesty International officials noted the lack of interest or concern with plight of the homeless in the Czech Republic. Of course, a higher percent of homeless come from minority groups and this might account for the limited interest in the topic.