Although the current refugee crisis is the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII, the uptick of Syrian refugees coming into Europe in 2015 has been continuously met with hostility from post-communist Central European countries, such as the Czech Republic. Discussed below are the leading facts about refugees in the Czech Republic and their implications.
10 Key Facts about Refugees in the Czech Republic
- The Czech President, Miloš Zeman, opposes the quota system (which is based on a country’s population and wealth) proposed by the EU but has not yet followed Slovakia and Hungary in challenging the courts. Rather than meeting the quota to take in about 2,600 refugees, Czech leaders are now discussing broader security steps.
- The Czech Republic, along with Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have the most opposition towards the quotas set by the EU.
- Before the Syrian refugee crisis, there was only one detention center located in Bělá-Jezová. There are now three; the center located in Bělá-Jezová has been dedicated to vulnerable migrants, such as families with women and children.
- Under the 2015 EU relocation quota, the Czech Republic has to accept around 4,300 people seeking asylum, which is about 410 refugees per one million of its population.
- In 2015, 3,644 people made up the population of refugees in the Czech Republic.
- In 2016, 1,475 people applied for internal protection. The government granted asylum to 148 applicants and subsidiary protection for 302 people.
- President Zeman has stated, “Our country simply cannot afford to risk terrorist attacks like what occurred in France and Germany. By accepting migrants we would create fertile ground for barbaric attacks,” according to his spokesman Jiri Ovcacek.
- The Czech Republic accepted 12 refugees and does not plan to take in anymore according to Interior Minister Milan Choyanec. The EU may take action against the Czech Republic in September if they continue to deny refugees.
- Since May 2016, there has been no offer of resettlement by the Czechs for any refugee within the EU program.
- President Zeman has stated that all refugees must prove that they are politically persecuted if they seek asylum and “the fact itself that they come from a country in which fighting is underway is no reason for being granted it.”
Although these facts are disheartening, the Czech Republic maintains its embassy in Damascus, Syria. The Czech Republic will also continue to provide humanitarian aid to Syria, as well as provide help for refugees in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.
– Stefanie Podosek