The UN human-rights commissioner has accused the Czech Republic of a systematic violation of the human rights of migrants and refugees in order to deter them from coming to the country.
Measures cited by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein include strip-searching migrants and refugees in order to confiscate money that is then used to pay for their detention, which can last up to 90 days.
“According to credible reports from various sources, the violations of the human rights of migrants are neither isolated nor coincidental, but systematic: They 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,” Zeid said in a statement issued in Geneva.
Many migrants and refugees are fleeing the civil war in Syria and unrest elsewhere, and are making their way to safety in Europe. Their preferred destination is Germany, which has opened its doors to those fleeing the conflict in Syria. But to get there, the migrants and refugees must first traverse Central European states, many of which have adopted policies, including border closures, that restrict the new arrivals.
In his statement, Zeid noted these restrictions, and added, “the Czech Republic is unique in routinely subjecting these migrants and refugees to detention for 40 days, and reportedly sometimes even longer—up to 90 days—in conditions which have been described as degrading.”