Quarreling over 15 Syrian children: How security definitively replaced rights in the Czech debate on asylum

In recent months the Czech Republic has seen a number of debates on migrants and refugees. In most of them, “security” has prevailed over rights. A look back suggests that this is in fact nothing new. A look forward does not seem optimistic either.

Photo: European Commission DG ECHO/Jared Kohler


TAGS:

When trying to understand the current state of Czech asylum policy, and especially the recent heated discussion over the resettlement of 15 Syrian children along with their families, 1 a historical perspective might help. It reveals that today’s “quarreling” has roots in the past. Following a narrative of asylum misuse that emerged in the 1990’s, Czechs adopted a “managerial” approach to asylum and migration policy. This was further strengthened by EU integration. Eventually, asylum as a human right disappeared from the public debate. The country is currently preparing a new strategy on migration. The notion of asylum as something to be “managed” is likely to be at its heart.

Current state of international protection

A human in need can get two types of shelter in the Czech Republic today: asylum and subsidiary protection. A person is entitled to asylum if they are persecuted either for expressing their political convictions 2 or on other grounds such as race, gender, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group. 3 Asylum can also be granted for reasons of family reunification 4 or for so-called humanitarian reasons. 5 The former concerns cases where one of the family members is already acknowledged as a refugee. The latter refers to cases where it would be considered inhumane to return a person to their country of origin, due to, for example, a health condition or an ongoing conflict there.

In addition to the three types of “classic” asylum, subsidiary protection can be granted in cases where a person has been refused asylum, but could still be subject to maltreatment for returning to his or her home country. 6 Subsidiary protection can also be granted for reasons of family reunification. 7

After the Velvet Revolution of 1989, the Czech Republic evolved from primarily being a country of transit into a country of destination for certain groups of asylum seekers. 8 Throughout the 1990’s and into the early 2000’s, most asylum applicants came from the Russian Federation (Chechnya), former Soviet countries (notably Armenia and Ukraine, later also Belarus and Moldova), Romania and Bulgaria. Most non-Europeans arrived from Afghanistan, Vietnam, India and Iraq. 9 After a steady rise in the number of applications through the 1990’s and a sharp increase between 2000 and 2001, the number of asylum seekers has been continuously decreasing and even more so since the Czech Republic’s EU accession in 2004. 10

Since 1991, 93,369 people have applied for asylum in the Czech Republic, out of which 3,973 were granted asylum and, 1,451, subsidiary protection. 11 In addition to these so-called spontaneous arrivals, about 140 refugees were permanently resettled in the Czech Republic from third countries. 12 At present, about 3,173 acknowledged refugees live here. From 2009 to 2013 the Ministry of Interior (MI) received about 500 new applications yearly; however the most recent data indicates a sharp increase – 914 new applications were reported in 2014. Today Ukrainians are by far the most represented group of applicants, followed by people fleeing the conflict in Syria. 13

Early beginnings: Asylum as constituent of the post-socialist Czech identity

From 1948 to 1989, foreign nationals rarely searched for asylum in then-communist Czechoslovakia, which only granted international protection on an ad-hoc basis and in correspondence with its own foreign policy interests. 14 Consequently, after 89’s Velvet Revolution, the newly democratic Czechoslovakia found itself lacking any legal basis for granting international protection – a necessary precondition for the ratification of the 1951 Geneva Convention and its 1967 Protocol. 15

The first Refugee Act was passed as early as 1990, in the (still-prevailing) atmosphere of post-revolutionary euphoria that resulted in a strong sense of obligation to contribute. 16 It defined “refugee” in a very broad sense, not simply codifying the right to asylum according to the classic Geneva Convention criteria. 17 In addition, the Refugee Act enabled the country to grant asylum both for reasons of human rights protection and for humanitarian concerns. 18 In fact in regards to the former, this national legislation went beyond the scope of the Geneva Convention itself, with a refugee being considered simply as someone “in need of protection.” 19 In addition to that, the Aliens Act of 1992 was similarly liberal, aiming more at monitoring migration flows rather than curbing or restricting them. 20

This liberal phase of Czech migration and asylum policy lasted from 1990 to 1996. 21 During this period, international protection was meant to serve an internal political function and was one of the new identifying elements of the first freely elected governments under Petr Pithart and Václav Klaus, who strove to be labeled as democratic and liberal.  22The overall welcoming attitude of the early 1990’s is also reflected in figures: more than one-third (37%) of all asylums granted after 1989 were awarded in the period from 1991 to 1993. 23

Emergence of the narrative on asylum misuse

From the very beginning, despite the initial liberal approach, asylum was perceived as a policy field directly connected to questions of internal security and consequently was to be administered by the Ministry of Interior (MI). The two consecutive right-wing governments in the early 1990s, led by the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and Prime Minister Václav Klaus pointed out that migration might also bear negative aspects. 24 Yet it was not until the Social Democrats (ČSSD) came into power in 1998 under Miloš Zeman, that the issue of migration gained more attention, with the government declaring it aimed to “balance out respect for humanitarian approaches with the necessity of restricting the negative impacts of migratory flows”. 25

In 1999, the Refugee Act was abolished and replaced with the Asylum Act, and the changes were adopted as the first steps to European integration. The rights of already acknowledged refugees and also those of people seeking asylum were improved. Among the most significant and impactful changes was that a refugee’s permission to work was granted on the first day of the application procedure.

In line with its stated policy, the government limited the Aliens Act significantly by introducing a range of highly restrictive measures to control and eventually reduce the number of incomers. The shift was a victory for the MI, which perceived the politics of the 1990’s as way too liberal, struggling for a long time to strengthen its position in regards to migration control. Although the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT) opposed this view, the Social Democratic government largely adopted the position of the MI, which was at that time itself led by a minister from the ruling ČSSD. 26

As a result of the newly adopted restrictions combined with the unpreparedness of official institutions, NGOs and migrants alike, many migrants legally residing in the country suddenly became illegal. For those who wished to stay, submitting an asylum application often remained the only way to regain legal status. 27Consequently, there was an unprecedented increase in the number of asylum applications from 7,220 in 1999 to 18,094 in 2001. 28

In reaction to this, the government restricted the Asylum Act again in 2001, by disallowing the work permit in the first year of the asylum procedure. With the restrictive measures being put in practice, 2001 saw the lowest numbers of asylums awarded in Czech history, with only 0.4% of all applications being granted. Realizing that attempts to re-legalize their status via asylum had become fruitless, the number of asylum seekers dropped again by almost 10,000 in 2002. 29

As a result of these turbulent shifts, the Czech Republic moved from the group of countries with a liberal approach to migration to the group with a more restrictive approach. 30 At the same time, migrants’ attempts to legalize their status by switching from the visa to the asylum regime gave birth to the notion of “asylum misuse.” The significant decrease in numbers of asylum applications after the toughening of the asylum laws in 2001 only served as further proof of migrants’ alleged misuse of the system. 31 Being further upheld by government clerks, political parties and at times even the European Commission, the notion quickly became widespread in Czech society. 32

EU accession: improving conditions while restricting access

The finalization of the EU integration process had a two-sided impact on the Czech asylum system. In regards to administrative practices, the Czech government devoted additional financial resources to the institutionalization and professionalization of the asylum system, striving to present the country as a “prepared candidate” for EU accession. 33 In addition to that, a range of EU regulations 34 and directives 35 were further implemented in Czech legislation.

The implementation of EU law helped create common ground for granting international protection and also unified practices related to asylum procedures. Nevertheless, several inconsistencies in law and practice occurred, as the directives were not always adopted correctly or implemented fully. 36 For example, despite several improvements with the transposition of EU law, reception and detention facilities are subject to criticism even today. 37

Probably the most influential has been the Dublin Regulation, which in fact, did not require much effort from the Czech Republic. The law simply said that the state where the asylum seeker gains entry to EU territory is responsible for handling his or her asylum application. Afterwards only a limited number of people would effectively reach Czech territory and apply for asylum. 38 Consequently, the number of people seeking asylum in the Czech Republic has been declining steadily since 2004. 39

Due to harmonization with EU law and the adoption of new instruments, the Czech Republic then moved to the next phase of its asylum policy, which was characterized by a complex approach to asylum and migration. 40The overall level of protection for asylum seekers and refugees was improved, yet only very few could profit from the ameliorated conditions. At the same time, certain discrepancies between EU and national laws remained unresolved, usually to the detriment of asylum seekers. Some of these discrepancies prevail to this day. 41

Resettlement as convenient “cherry-picking” of asylum seekers

Although the Czech Republic resettled refugees from third countries sporadically since the 1990’s, only very limited numbers were accepted in the first ad-hoc procedures, with the exception of groups fleeing wars in the former Yugoslavia, who were never expected to resettle permanently.

In 2008, at the end of the so-called neoliberal phase of Czech migration policy, characterized by low unemployment and the need for foreign workers, the official Resettlement Conception was passed. The MI, this time under ODS’ minister Ivan Langer, portrayed resettlement as controllable migration that produced benefits for all parties involved. 42 In line with the neoliberal idea of “cherry-picking” migrants, the motivations in the selection process were Czech foreign policy goals on one hand and the applicant’s “integration potential” on the other. 43

Thus the Resettlement Conception accomplished the shift from rights-based migration policy to an approach that characterized migration as an “area to be managed.” 44 This shift has significantly shaped the debate around the potential resettlement of Syrian refugees in 2014 and 2015.

Right to asylum today: quarreling over 15 Syrian children

The recent debate concerning the resettlement of 15 Syrian children and their families in the Czech Republic demonstrates the latest stage in Czech asylum policy’s evolution. The debate, criticized by one of the party leaders as “quarreling,” 45 has revealed several aspects of the prevailing public discourse and perception on asylum.

First and foremost, the Czech political parties currently in power are not able to clearly articulate their position on asylum. This reveals that, despite several attempts at regulation, migration has never truly been a crucial issue of interest for the majority of parties. 46 This vacuum is now being filled by individual party members’ musings, which has at times led to contradictory public statements from members of the very same party. The loudest ones among them – from the left and right of the political spectrum alike – portray refugees as “burdens,” if not direct “security threats.” Humanitarian and rights-based rhetoric is almost absent from the debate. 47

Security concerns especially prevail over the rights of asylum seekers from Muslim countries, refocusing the public discourse on asylum and migration into a discourse on Islam. At the same time, traditionally populist and mainstream political parties are quick to use the rising Islamophobia for their benefit 48Whereas Tomio Okamura’s suggestions to stop buying kebab in order to “protect the democratic way of life against Islam,” were publicly ridiculed to the point that his party, Úsvit,  distanced itself from his  statements; participation by mainstream politicians in anti-Islam rallies is seen as far less problematic by their respective party leaders. 49

And finally, that the government’s decision to (finally) resettle the Syrian refugees can rather be explained as a strategic foreign policy calculus with the Minister of Interior coming up against increased pressure from his European counterparts, than a humanitarian gesture.

Towards a new strategy on migration?

The government recently tasked the MI to draft a new, comprehensive migration strategy to be adopted in June 2015. Although civil society representatives have been given the opportunity to participate in several round-tables, they do not seem to be in any position to counter the security-focused view of the MI, who is also supported by a number of conservative and populist politicians and think tanks. 50 Thus the underlying line of argumentation of recommendations issued so far remain purely geopolitical and geostrategic, and are no way people or rights-based. 51This approach is far from “new”.

A historical perspective on the development of Czech asylum and migration policies reveals that the quarrel over Syrian refugees, and the alleged “new” migration strategy, does not show much novelty. With the emergence of the narrative on asylum misuse, followed by a perceived need to manage migration, a human-centered perspective has been escaping policy-makers’ considerations for quite some time.

Today, asylum, at best, serves as a foreign policy instrument meant to improve the Czech bargaining position in the EU – but nothing more. As it is now, refugee support can only be gained if the allegedly “inherent” security risks are managed via multiple and repeated security checks, bordering on what regular citizens would consider excessive interference into their privacy. This highly securitized internal political debate, partly created and reproduced by the MI itself, presents another victory for them, further strengthening their dominant position over asylum and migration policy – while the ultimate losers are the refugees, whose basic human rights are being completely nullified in the public debate.

Notes:

  1. Amnesty International as well as other non-governmental organizations have been advocating for the resettlement of Syrian refugees throughout 2014. After being initially rejected in fall 2014, the amended proposition of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic (MI) for the resettlement of 15 Syrian children and their families included additional security screenings of those incoming. It was finally adopted by the Czech government on January 14, 2015.
  2. § 12a Asylum Act. See Zákon o azylu. Act No. 325/1999 Coll. § 12a is a transposition of Art. 43 of the Czech Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. See Listina základních práv a svobod. Act No. 2/1993 Coll.
  3. § 12 b Asylum Act. §12b is a transposition of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Geneva Convention). See Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Geneva, July 28,1951. United Nations. Treaty Series, vol. 189, p. 137. Accessed on April 24 2015.
  4. § 13 Asylum Act.
  5. § 14 Asylum Act.
  6. §14 a Asylum Act.
  7. §14 b Asylum Act.
  8. Szczepankova, A., “Performing Refugeeness in the Czech Republic, Gendered Depoliticisation Through NGO Assistance,” Gender, Place & Culture, 17 (2010): 4, 461 — 477, p. 466.
  9. Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic. Department for Asylum and Migration Policy (MI DAMP): International Protection in the Czech Republic. Annual Statistical Overview 2010, p. 10-11. Accessed May 4 2015.
  10. The only exception in the overall negative development of asylum applications is the year 2003, followed, however, by an even sharper decline in 2004. See Czech Statistical Office. Foreigners: International Protection. Applicants for International Protection in the CR 1993-2011. Accessed April 24 2015.
  11. MI DAMP (2015): Statistical Reports on International Protection 2011-2014. Accessed May 4 2015.
  12. MI DAMP (2014): Azyl, migrace a integrace. Přesídlování. Accessed May 4 2015.
  13. Out of the 3,173 acknowledged refugees, 1,889 were granted protection in the form of asylum and 1,248 in the form of subsidiary protection. In 2014, 515 Ukrainians and 108 Syrians asked for asylum in the Czech Republic . See MI DAMP (2015): International Protection in the Czech Republic. Annual Statistical Overview 2014, p. 2, 3, 11. Accessed April 24 2015.
  14. Sczepanikova, A.,  “From the Right of Asylum to Migration Management: The Legal-Political Construction of ‘a Refugee’ in the Post-Communist Czech Republic,” Europe-Asia Studies, 63 (2011): 5, 789 — 806, p. 790-791.
  15. Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, 31 January 1967, United Nations,  Treaty Series , vol. 606, p. 267. Accessed May 3 2015. The 1951 Geneva Convention and 1967 Protocol were both ratified on May 11 1993. See Ratification status of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Accessed April 24 2015.
  16. Sczepanikova 2011, p. 792.
  17. §2 Refugee Act.
  18. §3 Refugee Act.
  19. Sczepanikova 2011, p. 792.
  20. Sczepanikova 2011, p. 798. Baršová, A. and Barša,P. (2005). Přistěhovalectví a liberální stát. Imigrační a integrační politiky v USA, západní Evropě a Česku. Masarykova univerzita v Brně. Mezinárodní politologický ústav, p. 221-222. Accessed May 3 2015.
  21. Baršová, Barša 2005, p. 221-222. This clustering of Czech migration policy is party challenged by Kušniráková and Čižinský, who offer an alternative methodological approach. See Kušniráková, T. and Čižinský, P. (2011): Dvacet let české migrační politiky. Liberální, restriktivní anebo ještě jiná? Geografie 116:4, 497- 517. Accessed May 4 2015.
  22. Programme Declaration of the Government of the Czech Republic from 1990. Accessed April 28 2015. Programme Declaration of the Government of the Czech Republic from 1992. Accessed April 28 2015.
  23. MI DAMP (2010): Statistical Report on International Protection in 2009, p. 14. Accessed April 24 2015.
  24. The official government declaration from 1996 stressed the need to tackle certain „negative aspects of illegal migration.“ Programme Declaration of the Government of the Czech Republic from 1996. Accessed May 3 2015.
  25. Programme Declaration of the Government of the Czech Republic from 1998. Accessed May 3 2015.
  26. Kušniráková, Čižinský 2011, p. 500 – 501.
  27. Szczepanikova 2011, p. 797 – 799.
  28. Czech Statistical Office (CSO) (2014): Foreigners. International Protection. Applicants for International Protection and Asylum Granted in the CR 1993-2011. Accessed April 24 2015.
  29. CSO 2014.
  30. Baršová, Barša 2005, p. 221 – 225.
  31. Szczepanikova 2011, p. 799 – 800.
  32. For government clerks see Szczepanikova 2011, p. 799-800.For political parties see ODS Elections Program for Parliamentary Elections of 2002. ODS (2002): Volební desatero. Vstříc novému osudu, p. 20 – 21. Accessed May 4 2015. For European Commission see European Commission (2001) Regular report from the Commission on Czech Republic’s progress towards accession 2001. SEC (2001) 1746 final, 13 November 2001, p. 91. Accessed May 4 2015. For the adoption of the notion in Czech media see e.g. Dolanský, L. (September 21 2001): Zákon má ztížit zneužívání azylu. iDNES.cz. Accessed May 4 2015.
  33. Szczepanikova 2010, p. 466.
  34. Notably the Dublin Regulation, defining that the country responsible for handling an asylum application is the one through which the asylum seeker first entered the EU, and the EURODAC Regulation allowing access to asylum seekers’ fingerprint databases. For Dublin Regulation see Council Regulation (EC) No 343/2003 of 18 February 2003, revised by Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013. For EURODAC Regulation see Council Regulation (EC) No 2725/2000 of 11 December 2000, revised by Regulation (EU) No 603/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013.
  35. The Asylum Procedures Directive, the Reception Conditions Directive, and the Qualifications Directive. For Asylum Procedures Directive See Council Directive 2005/85/EC of 1 December 2005, revised by Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013. For Receptions Conditions Directive see Council Directive 2003/9/EC of 27 January 2003, revised by Directive 2013/33/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013. For Qualifications Directive see Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004, revised by Directive 2011/95/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011.
  36. Kosař, D., Molek, P., Honusková, V., Jurman, M., Lupačová, H. (2010): Zákon o azylu. Komentář. Praha: Wolters Kluwer. Ombudsman (2008): Společný Evropský Azylový Systém. Transpozice směrnic. Accessed May 4 2015.
  37. UNHCR (2012): Submission by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Compilation Report – Universal Periodic Review. Accessed May 4 2015.
  38. Namely those who managed to reach Czech territory either via airplane or without being identified and registered in the EURODAC system in any of the Member States they have passed through.
  39. CSO 2014.
  40. Baršová, Barša 2005, p. 224 – 226.
  41. Kosař, D., Molek, P., Honusková, V., Jurman, M., Lupačová, H. 2010. Ombudsman (2010): Společný Evropský Azylový Systém: Zásahy do osobní svobody. Accessed May 4 2015. Ombusman (2011): Návratová směrnice. Vyhoštění, zajištění a soudní přezkum. Acessed May 4 2015. Ombudsman (2013): Pobyt cizinců, vybrané právní problemy. Accessed May 4 2015.  Holá, E. (2012): Promarněná příležitost? K několika bodům novely zákona o azylu. Migraceonline.cz. Accessed April 24 2015.
  42. MI DAMP (2008): National Resettlement Programme Conception, p. 1, 4. Accessed May 4 2015.
  43. MI DAMP 2008, p. 6.
  44. Szczepaniková even describes this development as “a dangerous conversion between migration management and humanitarian principles of asylum”.  Szczepanikova 2011, p. 804.
  45. Karel Schwarzenberg (TOP 09) in Ciborová, K., ČTK (January 14 2015): Česká pomoc: přijmeme 70 syrských uprchlíků. Deník.cz. Accessed April 24 2015.
  46. Koudelka, J. (2014): Imigrace a politické strany v České republice 2010-2013. Globalpolitics. Accessed April 24 2015.
  47. Notably the social-democratic MEP, Jan Keller (ČSSD), claimed repeatedly that mass immigration would endanger European welfare states. This view was most recently shared by the right-wing conservative MP, Petr Gazdík (STAN), who claimed “no mercy” for refugees. The Social Democratic Minister of Interior, Milan Chovanec, pointed repeatedly to possible security threats and suggested first that people should decide about resettlement in a referendum and second that only ethnic Christians should be applicable for resettlement. A similarly securitized approach was adopted not only by the conservative, right wing politicians, Miroslava Němcová and Jana Černochová (both ODS MPs), but most recently by one of the Christian Democratic MPs, Petr Kudela (KDU-ČSL). In contrast to that, humanitarian rhetoric was stressed (for example) by the Minister of Culture Daniel Herman (KDU-ČSL). Helena Langšádlová (TOP 09 MP) recalled solidarity. At the same time, it is significant that neither the second strongest party in the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament, ANO, nor its members seem to have given any public statement on the issue at all. Apart from the parties represented in the Chamber of Deputies, the Czech Green Party underlined the need for more life-saving approaches in their public statements. See Jan Keller e.g. in Otázky Václava Moravce (January 4 2015). Keller a Radičová ve shodě: Evropa neví, co s uprchlíky. ČT24. Accessed May 4 2015. See also Petr Gazdík in Hroník, J. (April 21 2015): Zasáhněte proti přistěhovalcům, posílejte je zpět. Žádná lítost, je třeba čin. Nejspíš by tu pobírali dávky, říká Petr Gazdík. Parlamentnílisty.cz. Accessed May 4 2015. See Milan Chovanec in Trachotvá, Z. a Kopecký J. (November 30 2015): O uprchlících ze Sýrie by měli Češi hlasovat v referendu, řekl Chovanec. iDNES.cz. Accessed May 4 2015. Němcová in Němcová, M. (January 8 2015): Miroslava Němcová. Syrští uprchlíci. Lidové noviny. Accessed May 4 2015. Kudela in Kudela (May 1 2015): Hrozí nové stěhování národů. Je naše dotace třetím zemím dostatečná? Oral Interpolations. Parlamentnílisty.cz. Accessed May 4 2014. See Kopecký, J. (January 14 2015): Vláda schválila přijetí 15 syrských rodia. Na uprchlíky dá 100 milionů. iDNES.cz. Accessed May 4 2015. Langšádlová in Czech News Agency (January 14 2015): ČR může přijmout stovky syrských uprchlíků, tvrdí TOP 09. ČTK. Accessed May 4 2015. Czech Green Party (October 22 2014): Press Release. Stanovisko SZ k humanitární situaci v Sýrii. Accessed May 4 2015.
  48. Linek, L. (2014): Proč české politické strany koketují s rozdmýcháváním strachu z Islámu? Protože na to česká společnost slyší. Institute of Sociology. Academy of Science of the Czech Republic. Accessed May 4 2015.
  49. Every single kebab bought is another step towards burkas.” See Facebook post by Tomio Okamura from January 3 2015. Accessed May 4 2015. Okamura later claimed that it was in fact not him but one of his party members who was the author of the list. See Trachtová, Z. (January 3 2015): Každý koupený kebab je další krok k burkám, tvrdí Okamura na Facebooku. iDNES.cz, Accessed May 4 2015. See also ČT24, ČTK (January 6 2015): Úsvit se distancoval od Kobzova proiislámského příspěvku. ČT24.cz. Accessed May 4 2015. Compare to the statement of ODS party leader Petr Fiala as regards the ODS MP Jana Černochová‘s participation in one of the anti-Islam rallies organized by the “We do not want Islam in the Czech Republic” initiative. Kopecký, J. (January 20 2015): Žádní náckové, hájí Černochová účast na protestu proti islamistům, iDNES.cz. Accessed May 4 2015.
  50. Kučera, P. (2015): Vnitro má jasno ohledně budoucí strategie migrační politiky. Poznámky z kulatého stolu. Migraceonline.cz. Accessed May 4 2015.
  51. According to the recommendations, the Czech Republic must show solidarity with other Member States in a proactive and cooperative manner in order to assure that potential changes of the EU asylum system do not occur to its own detriment. The paper defines three key interests of the Czech Republic in light of what it describes as an “asylum crisis”: (1) preserving free movement in the EU, (2) securing the Czech position within the Schengen system, and (3) maintaining the voluntary nature of the resettlement mechanism.  Evropské hodnoty (2014): Národní konvent o EU. Pozice ČR k migraci do EU ve světle současné azylové krize, p. 4 – 5. Accessed April 24 2015.
Zuzana Pavelková

Zuzana Pavelková

is an activist and founder of the initiative "Česko vítá uprchlíky" (Czech Republic welcomes refugees). She worked with different civil society organizations and initiatives advocating for refugee and migrant rights in Germany,​ ​France​ and Czech Republic.