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Refugee policies - Czech Republic

The #CzechRepublic is a relatively new transit and destination country for asylum seekers. Its #refugee#policy is considerably young, as it was established by the Act No. 325/1999 of the Collection of Laws on #Asylum, which can be regarded as an attempt to get close to international and European standards after its dissociation from the Soviet Union.

The Act states that a person may be granted #internationalprotection by the Czech Republic if he/she has “a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, sex, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion in the country of which he/she is a citizen”. Not by chance, the wording resembles the 1951 Refugee Convention. As a matter of fact, the Czech Republic is a party to both the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol, as well as of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. The asylum application process is based on information provided by #UNHCR.

Overall, the wording of the Czech law on asylum is rather vague and, aside from a focus on #housing assistance and Czech #language courses, does not provide detailed instruction. Moreover, the Department for Asylum and Migration Policy within the Ministry of the Interior is de iure the main responsible for refugee #resettlement and #integration. However, in the last decade the effective role of the state has diminished, while local NGOs, international organisations and other social actors have grown in importance. This phenomenon epitomizes the flaws of a still immature domestic legal framework where competent authorities de facto lack knowledge and expertise about the actual situation of refugees and asylum seekers in the country.

As a matter of fact, besides the problem of anti-refugee political rhetoric, the Czech Republic still needs to develop proper legislation and ad hoc implementation strategies to tackle human trafficking, provide better integration services and improving the overall quality of life of refugees in the country in compliance with the European and international standard of refugee protection.

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