Czech Social Watch report: chaos and incompetence

On 30th July 2014 the Czech Social Watch Coalition released the new National Social Watch Report summarizing the development in the year 2013. The title of the report is Czech Republic: Chaos and incompetence in the next year of crisis and it focuses on social development and gender equity, particularly in the following areas: economics, women in politics, social and accessible housing, Roma minority, the lack of community work and human rights agenda in the Czech foreign policy. The publication includes an additional article about the Czech arms export, which is called Czech Republic again equipped dictators with arms in 2013.

The Czech economy persisted in recession in 2013. Although the decrease of the economy in 2013 was comparable to 2012, the relevance of the particular components was different. While the negative impact of investments continued, the negative impact of foreign commerce newly joined it in 2013. There is some hope in the turn in the area of investments, which appeared at the end of the year. The strong fiscal restrictions did not continue in 2013, the governmental expenses became de facto the only positive component of GDP. The high number of unemployed people, reaching 630 000 registered at employment office at the beginning of 2014, appears hand in hand with long-lasting decrease of the real wage. There was a drop in real wage of 1,3 % in total in 2013. The number of precarious jobs is also increasing.

The absence of a systemic housing policy came into a critical point. The only available asylum for underprivileged and excluded people appeared to be overpriced and unsuitable dormitories. Rapidly increasing prices are making housing inaccessible for particular groups of inhabitants such as social excluded, the elderly, families with children or single parent families. This trend also shows an increase of expenses on social benefits. The need of a law adjustment of social housing was also pointed out by the Public Defender of Rights over a longer period of time.

Like in previous years, anti-Roma demonstrations continued in 2013. The Czech media played its role in the boom of the demonstrations by informing extensively about trivial conflicts, like common fights between children. This strengthened the image of Roma as people that cannot be got on well with and that it is necessary to intervene vigorously.

The gender part of the report was focused primarily on women in politics, which does not show any positive results as well. After the preliminary elections in autumn 2013 the number of female MP’s decreased from 44 to 39, in total by 19,5 %. However, the good news is the restoration of the position of the Minister for Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Legislation. There is also reason for mild optimism in the Goverment Coalition agreement, which promises some positive steps towards gender equality. Lets see if these and other propositions will be put into practice, or remain on paper only.

The additional article shows, that Czech arms are exported to countries known for violating human rights, for example Saudi Arabia or Bahrain.

The report was presented at a press conference on 30th July 2014 in Prague and achieved big media coverage.

The authors of the Czech Social Watch Report are Tomáš Tožička (Editor), Ilona Švihlíková (Economics), Marcela Adamusová (Gender and women in politics), Linda Sokačová (Social and accessible housing), Saša Uhlová (Roma minority).

The members of Czech Social Watch Coalition are Alternativa 50+, Ekumenická akademie Praha, Eurosolar, Fórum 50 %, Gender Studies, Masarykova demokratická akademie, NESEHNUTÍ, Trast pro ekonomiku a společnost.

Human Rights International Treaties
ILO Conventions
C 87 C 98 C 105 C 100 C 111C 138 C 182
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