Okeil: We call on the Czech government to open investigations with organizations that cooperate with and serve as cover for terrorist groups
Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights organized a side event on the sidelines of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Czech Republic, from inside the Palais des Nations in Geneva. During the event, Maat discussed the extent of Czech’s cooperation with international mechanisms for the protection of human rights, its harboring of terrorist elements, and finally, the file of the Roma minority with the aim of directing recommendations to the Czech government to improve the human rights situation there.
During the event, Ayman Okeil, an international human rights expert and President of Maat, indicated that the Czech government still faces several challenges in the field of extremism, being a save haven for a number of terrorist groups that spread violent ideas and extremism within the state, threatening not only its stability but also the stability of Europe as a whole.
Okeil urged the Czech government to open an investigation with those organizations suspected of having links with terrorist groups as well as to monitor and freeze the financing of these organizations to curb their influence.
Aqil also recommended that the government abide by its international commitments to combat terrorism, with the need to establish a national mechanism that would monitor and protect human rights.
Mr. Maher Farghali, a researcher specialized in the affairs of Islamic terrorist groups, explained that the Czech government is exposed to the threat of terrorism, especially from the Muslim Brotherhood, despite the relatively calm environment at the moment. Farghali added that the Czech Republic is a transit country receiving many refugees, some may carry extremist ideologies. Thus, he recommends the Czech Republic to benefit from the good experiences of other countries and seek help to combat terrorism and extremist ideology and protect minorities from this extremist thought.
Awin Tavakoli, a lawyer and a human rights defender, noted that there is clear persecution of the Roma minority, who are treated in a discriminatory manner, adding that not talking about discrimination against the Roma is discrimination in itself.
Mr. Ahmed Jama, a human rights researcher, highlighted the importance of evaluating Czech’s extent of cooperation with international mechanisms for the protection of human rights, especially with the appointment of the Permanent Representative of this Republic to the United Nations, Václav Bálek, as President of the Human Rights Council.
Marina Sabri, Deputy Director of the International Human Rights Mechanisms Unit at Maat, pointed out the shortcomings in the Czech’s cooperation with international mechanisms for the protection of human rights, and that it has not received any country visits from the special rapporteurs since 1999. The Czech Republic does not have a national mechanism for the protection of human rights that is compatible with the Paris Principles, and it should harmonize its national legislation with international standards, Sabri added.
Notably, Maat issued a working paper, entitled "Key Challenges Facing the Human Rights Situation in the Czech Republic", on the sidelines of the Czech Republic's submission to the UPR 4th cycle. In this paper, Maat reviewed the basic challenges facing the human rights situation in this country, the extent of its cooperation with international mechanisms for the protection of human rights, in addition to the consistency between national legislation and the principles of international human rights conventions. Moreover, it covered the challenges that impede the establishment of a national institution that complies with the Paris Principles, the issue of harboring terrorists and organizations allegedly linked to terrorism, as well as minorities’ rights and hate speech there. The paper concluded with a set of recommendations to be integrated into the recommendations of the fourth session of the Czech Republic.