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Cablegate: President's Human Rights Roundtable at 2007 Unga:

VZCZCXRO6835
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHPG #1060/01 2561604
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 131604Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY PRAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9611
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PRAGUE 001060

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EZ PHUM PREL
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT'S HUMAN RIGHTS ROUNDTABLE AT 2007 UNGA:
CZECH REPUBLIC

REF: A. SECSTATE 12546
B. PRAGUE 630
C. PRAGUE 557
D. PRAGUE 531
E. 06 PRAGUE 85
F. 06 PRAGUE 68
G. 06 PRAGUE 66
H. 06 PRAGUE 58

1. The Czech Republic is justifiably proud of its record as a
country actively engaged in promoting democracy and
protecting human rights, particularly in oppressed societies
such as Cuba, Belarus, Burma and countries in the Middle
East. They are engaged in myriad projects in support of free
media, they provide capacity training - notably in Belarus
and other Eastern European nations as well as Iraq and
Afghanistan - and they are committed to building
relationships with civil society, notably youth. In addition
to the work of the Czech government, there is vibrant support
within the Czech NGO community for human rights and democracy
promotion. Embassy Prague enjoys a close working relationship
with Czech officials and NGOs on these issues.

Czech Human Rights and Democracy Priorities
-------------------------------------------
2. Democracy promotion is at the heart of Czech foreign
policy since Czech officials and NGOs alike firmly believe
that they have a moral obligation to help others struggling
to be free because of their own peaceful transition to
democracy in 1989. As noted in our series of cables on Czech
democracy promotion last year (reftels), the GOCR also
recognizes the security benefits of democracy promotion and
the Czech Security Strategy identifies the promotion of
"freedom, democracy, and the principles of rule of law" as a
strategic national interest. The key partners in Czech
transformational diplomacy are the MFA (particularly under
the leadership of Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg and Deputy
Foreign Minister Tomas Pojar), the NGO People in Need (PIN),
former Czech President Vaclav Havel and the International
Committee for Democracy in Cuba (ICDC).

Czechs Emphasize Transformation Through Civil Society
--------------------------------------------- --------
3. The Czechs focus on "transformational cooperation" when
speaking of democracy promotion in third countries, the key
of which is the systematic cooperation and support for civil
society. The MFA Department of Human Rights and Transition
Policy monitors the status of democracy, human rights and
fundamental freedoms in priority countries and, as needed,
identifies projects to establish and reinforce democratic
institutions (primarily through educating civil society and
supporting peaceful opposition). Some of the key priority
countries for MFA funding are: Cuba, Belarus, Burma, Bosnia,
Georgia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Moldova, Serbia, and Ukraine.

Czech Support for Free Media
----------------------------
4. The Czechs are very engaged in access to free media. In
Belarus, they support the European Radio Belarus project
(modeled on Radio Free Europe) which transmits independent
content prepared by Belarusian journalists into Belarus. In
Cuba and Iraq, as another example, they provide training,
hardware and supplies for independent journalists. This
training focuses on media ethics and best practices for
reporting and photography. Besides providing training for
Cuban journalists, many of whom end up as political
prisoners, the Czech NGO People in Need makes a point of
visiting all of the families of these political prisoners to
bring news and supplies, but perhaps most importantly to show
solidarity. PIN arranges medical assistance for the
prisoners, enlisting sympathetic Cuban doctors and PIN also
provides financial support to these prisoners and their
families.

Capacity Building
-----------------
5. The Czechs believe that a successful democratic transition
requires preparation of civil society, democratic opposition
leaders and elected officials in key areas such as judicial
reform, social systems, economics, police and military reform
restitution and privatization issues. Thus, they have
provided this training in Belarus and other East European
countries as well as Iraq. For use in this training, they
have published a book describing Czech "lessons learned"
during their transition to democracy, which has been
translated into Spanish and Belarusian.

Willing to Chide Other Governments on Responsibilities
--------------------------------------------- ---------
6. The Czechs are a lead nation when it comes to advancing
human rights, and Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg is
deservedly well-known for his fervent speeches on this issue.

PRAGUE 00001060 002 OF 002


He does not hesitate to remind other EU member states of the
importance of providing support for nascent democratic
movements and succor to dissidents. At the September EU
Foreign Minister's Meeting last week in Portugal, it was the
Czech government that stepped forward and added Burma to the
agenda. As well, Czech support for democratic change in Cuba
has been invaluable, especially when other EU member states
have wavered. PIN and the ICDC, for example, organizing a
conference on Cuba policy in Berlin during the German EU
presidency.

Embassy Partnership with Czechs
-------------------------------
7. The Embassy frequently partners with the Czech government
and Czech NGOs on democracy promotion. For instance, Post
has supported PIN's Cuba awareness campaigns and sent the
ICDC's Executive Secretary on a Volvis to Washington, New
York and Miami. Most notably, however, in March of this year
the Embassy partnered with the Czech MFA on a workshop
"Supporting Change" regarding the role of Central Europe in
democracy promotion (details available from Embassy Prague
POC: Michael Feldman). The workshop, attended by European
and U.S. officials and NGOs, highlighted the benefits of
Cental Europeans expanding their work with transition
governments and dissidents. Embassy Prague also provides
funding for Czech think tanks on training and internships for
young Belarus democracy activists.

A Worthy Partner on Democracy Promotion
---------------------------------------
8. The Czech government is a committed partner with a proven
track record on promoting democracy and human rights. They
will remain a key interlocutor as we strive to advance the
recommendations from the Democratic roundtables chaired by
President Bush at the UN General Assembly.
THOMPSON-JONES

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