UNHCR report: The Czech Republic wants inclusive education or a modification of the definition of rape

UNHCR report: The Czech Republic wants inclusive education or to amend the definition of rape

Primary school class – illustrative photo.

Geneva – The Czech Republic aims for inclusive education and would like to change the legal definition of rape to better match current standards. This follows from a document on the state of human rights in the Czech Republic, which ČTK received today from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). States will officially discuss the proposed report at the council's June meeting, a UNHRC spokesman said.

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The UNHRC deals with human rights in all 193 member states as part of the so-called Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The authority discussed the first draft of the report at a meeting at the end of January, when other member states could comment on the document. Today, the position of the Czech Republic was added to the draft report.

Among the most common criticisms leveled at the Czech Republic at the council meeting at the end of January were the unfinished ratification of the Council of Europe's Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, the so-called Istanbul Convention. In its response, the Czech Republic points to some adjustments that are intended to tighten the procedure of the authorities against domestic violence and violence against women. “The Czech Republic will bring the definition of rape into line with the modern concept of sexual relations based on consent and mutual respect,” reads the part of the document in which the assessed state expresses itself.

In recent years, a number of European states have changed the legal definition of rape in in the sense that the essence of the crime is fulfilled even in situations where the attacker does not use threats or violence, as required by Czech legal reasoning.

The Czech representatives also pointed to the effort to reopen the public debate on the Istanbul Convention or to enforce a law that would prohibit “all forms of violence against children”. “The Czech Republic condemns corporal punishment of children,” the document reads.

Another frequent complaint that was raised during the January meeting was the insufficient integration of Roma in society, the labor market and schools. “The Czech Republic is particularly focused on inclusion in education, although inequalities in education persist,” reads the Czech statement in the UNHCR document. The Czech representatives pointed to preventive campaigns against racism, compensation for women who were forced to undergo sterilization in the past, or the establishment of the function of a government representative for the affairs of the Roma minority.

The fulfillment of the rights of people from the LGBT+ community “continued a challenge”, the Czech Republic said in a statement. According to him, a change is also being prepared in the process of recognizing gender change, in accordance with human rights standards.

Czech representatives also pointed out that the difference in remuneration between men and women has decreased. According to them, the government has approved measures that should further reduce the disadvantage of women on the labor market.

Czech representatives also state that the war in Ukraine and the arrival of roughly half a million refugees have been a major challenge for the country.

“The report will be officially assessed by the Human Rights Council in June,” UNHCR spokesman Rolando Gómez said. Until then, the Czech government can communicate its further positions.

The previous report on human rights in the Czech Republic was discussed by the UNHCR in 2017.