Czech Republic accused of abusing refugees

United Nations accuses Czech Republic of holding refugees in 'degrading' conditions

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Police in the Czech Republic seen writing numbers on the refugee‘s arms after detaining them

Updated Oct 23, 2015

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein on Thursday accused the Czech Republic of violating the human rights of refugees by detaining them for up to 90 days and strip-searching them for money to pay for their own detention.

‘’Human rights violations appear to be an integral part of a policy by the Czech government designed to deter migrants and refugees from entering the country or staying there,’’ Hussein said in a statement.

He also criticized the "Islamophobic" statements made by Czech President, Milos Zeman and stated his discontent regarding the detainment of children.

According to media reports, Czech President, Milos Zeman had previously stated that the refugees might bring terrorism and infectious diseases and had called on the armed forces to guard the country’s borders against refugees.

The Czech Republic is a country in Central Europe, it is bordered by Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland.

Hundreds of thousands refugees escaping war and poverty, cross through Hungary and Austria to reach Germany. Refugees who cross through the Czech Republic have been frequently detained, If the government does not send them back to their country, they stay in the Czech Republic, or many of them continue onto Germany.

However, the Czech government says the detentions are legal. Last week 533 people were detained in the Czech Republic.

"What we fundamentally disagree with is the assertion that the Czech government intentionally and systematically violates human rights of migrants," Interior Minister, Milan Chovanec said in a statement.

Europe is facing its biggest refugee crisis since World War II. According to Slovenian authorities, more than 12,000 refugees have entered into the country on Thursday, with thousands more expected. Moreover, Sweden has said that up to 190,000 refugees will arrive in the country this year alone.

Hussein said in a statement that although other European countries have applied policies to limit the number of refugees, the Czech Republic was ‘’unique’’ in its detention of refugees.

TRTWorld and agencies