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Cablegate: Osce Human Dimension Meeting: Embassy Prague Input

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPG #0381 1721111
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201111Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY PRAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0424
INFO RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE VIENNA AU

UNCLAS PRAGUE 000381

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/NCE (TRATENSEK)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PHUM OSCE PREL
SUBJECT: OSCE HUMAN DIMENSION MEETING: EMBASSY PRAGUE INPUT

REF: SECSTATE 60838

1. (U) Post is providing the following points in response to
Reftel request for information on host government's record on
matters of basic freedoms and human rights for this fall's
HDIM Conference:

2. (SBU) The Czech Republic has a strong record of promoting
human rights and basic freedoms abroad. One legacy of the
Czech struggle against communism, and in particular of Vaclav
Havel,s many years as Czech president, is the active role
the Czech government and NGOs take in promoting democracy
around the world. The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs has
a special unit devoted to transformation policy. It works
together with Czech NGOs to support civil society and
democratic reforms in countries like Cuba, Belarus, Iraq,
Burma, and elsewhere. Likewise, the Czechs are active within
the EU and the UN supporting steps that promote democracy and
human rights. Prague is home to the USG-funded Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), which broadcasts to many
countries in transition in the former Soviet Union and the
Middle East.

3. (SBU) The Czech Republic has a more complicated record of
human rights promotion domestically. On the positive side,
the constitution safeguards freedoms of worship, speech,
assembly and conscience, and the government generally
respects these rights in practice. However, several problems
remain, the most significant among them being the treatment
of the country's largest ethnic minority group, the Roma.
The country's 200,000-strong Roma community continues to face
wide-scale societal discrimination and a lack equitable
education, housing, and employment opportunities. In
November 2007, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that
the state had routinely discriminated against Roma students.
At times, societal discrimination has also manifested itself
in the form of violence against the Roma.

4. (SBU) The Czech Republic is also the last EU member
country without anti-discrimination legislation, which the
country committed to adopt upon entry to the EU in 2004. In
May 2008, President Klaus vetoed a proposed
anti-discrimination law, and it is unclear whether the Czech
Parliament will be able to override the veto.
Graber

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