Czech Centre for Human Rights and Democracy

The Centre is an independent academic institution analysing human rights developments. It organizes conferences, issues a monthly Bulletin and informs about human rights in the Czech Republic and Europe, as well as in the rest of the world.

4.8.2019
Nikola Klímová

In her final report of June 2019, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, published her findings about the murder of the Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, committed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October. Based on her investigation, Callamard affirms that there is credible evidence of the involvement of the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and other high-ranking officials in the killing and calls for opening an independent international inquiry.

In June, the UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard submitted to the Human Rights Council her long-awaited report summarising her findings on the murder of the Saudi Arabian journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. The report is divided into two documents. First, a formal summary submitted to the Human Rights Council for its 41st regular session which took place in Geneva between 24 June and 12 July. Second, a one-hundred page annex to the report discussing detailed factual and legal findings of the UN Special Rapporteur. Drawing upon evidence collected mainly during Callamard’s mission to Turkey, her investigation brought to light several novel facts about Khashoggi’s death.  

3.8.2019
Douglas Radcliff

The term “Free World” grew in prominence during the Cold War to describe the Western Bloc. Over time it has been associated more with the US due to the US being considered the main democratic superpower and therefore, the leader of democratic states throughout the world. However, if one examines recent trends, it seems the US no longer meets this standard.

The “Free World,” more generally being associated with Western states, has democratic values at its core. One of the key democratic values is respect for fundamental human rights. However, in order to be a leader of the “Free World,” the state (or amalgamation of states in the case of the US) should not only protect these fundamental human rights but also drive them forward at an accelerating pace, both internationally and domestically.

31.7.2019
Aneta Boudová

President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka decided to cancel the 43-year moratorium on the use of the death penalty in February this year. The main reason to resume executions is, according to the president, to fight drug crime, which is common in Sri Lanka as it is one of the main routes of drug trafficking.

Sri Lanka used the death penalty as punishment for major crimes more or less until the 1970s. During this time, opposition pushed to restrict the practice and as a reaction, moratorium on the death penalty was established in 1976. However, that does not mean that the death penalty was abolished as such. Sri Lanka's Penal Code still contains the death penalty as punishment and people are nowadays still sentenced to death after committing major criminal offences.[1] In fact, over 1,000 prisoners are on death row right now in Sri Lanka. But thanks to the moratorium they serve life sentences instead of waiting for death by hanging, which is the method of execution in Sri Lanka.

June Bulletin published

30.6.2019

The June Bulletin opens with an exceptional contribution (in English) commemorating the 80th anniversary of when the Briton, Nicholas Winton, saved the lives of 669 children from Czechoslovakia. At that time in 1939, John Karlik was among those saved and brings us a personal recollection on his early years spent in Prague and later in England.

Kristýna Molková Foukalová then writes about a meeting in Madrid of female judges from all over the world, where they discussed the topic of gender in the judiciary.

Furthermore, there are a number of articles regarding current human rights developments.  These articles are divided into the following four categories: International Criminal Justice; European System of Human Rights Protection; International Politics, Business and Human Rights; and the Czech Republic and Human Rights.

You can read the Bulletin in PDF version. The Bulletin is in the Czech language.

May Bulletin published

26.5.2019

The May Bulletin opens with a traditional report from Veronika Bílková and Kateřina Šimáčková, Czech representatives at the Venice Commission. Within the last session, the most discussed topics were the opinion on the administrative courts in Hungary and the text related to the ‘Ombudsman principles’. Apart from the principles, the Venice Commission also focused on a revision of the constitution of Luxembourg.

The head of the section International Politics, Business and Human Rights, Nela Černotová, brings a contribution that will be welcomed by everyone interested in Latin America, peace and transitional justice. Among other things based on her own experience, she discusses the peace process in Colombia, as well as the newly established court, the “Special Jurisdiction for Peace”. 

Furthermore, there are a number of articles regarding current human rights developments.  These articles are divided into the following four categories: International Criminal Justice; European System of Human Rights Protection; International Politics, Business and Human Rights; and the Czech Republic and Human Rights.

You can read the Bulletin in PDF version. The Bulletin is in the Czech language.

16.6.2019
Tereza Žuffová-Kunčová

“Uighurs” are an oppressed minority group of Chinese Muslims living in Northwest China. While many voices have called for stopping China and its actions against this minority, it remains relatively unknown that the US has also played an important role in the violations of the human rights of this minority.

Alleged terrorists

As a result of the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, the US began the “War on Terror,” a military campaign launched by President George W. Bush. The campaign was against the terrorist group, Al-Qaeda, which operated in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it also combated other terrorist groups throughout the region.

25.5.2019
Douglas Radcliff

The debate over vaccinations dates back to 1998 to a study conducted by a later discredited Dr. Andrew Wakefield suggesting that vaccinations led to a rise in autism among vaccinated children. Since then, the debate has taken a foothold, with numerous people speaking against state and medically recommended vaccines, ultimately resulting in a national security, public health and human rights issue.

The Debate

Although there is no federal law in the U.S. requiring vaccines, all 50 states require various vaccines for children to attend any public school, with certain exemptions for medical, religious or philosophical reasons. Additionally, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends vaccines. Almost all, regardless of their side, would say that the debate focuses on the safety and health of children. Many people against vaccines feel that vaccines have the ability to cause children to develop autism, ADHD, and diabetes, blaming corrupt government officials, greedy pharmaceutical companies and biased scientific studies. They feel that children’s immune systems can naturally deal with infections and that injecting a questionable vaccine will cause side effects.