Applications by foreigners to Czech ombudsman
A lecture presented at “New challenges,” a seminar on migration organized by the Multicultural Center Prague and the International Organization for Migration in November 2003 (for details, please see the attached document). Veronika Gabrišová appeared on behalf of Otakar Motejl, the Czech ombudsman, to present a lecture entitled “Protection of the rights of minorities in the Czech Republic”. As an introduction, she described the ombudsman’s role in protecting the rights of all citizens, and then moved on to examine the specific situation of foreigners, asylum applicants and refugees. Foreigners who turn to the ombudsman are usually staying in the Czech Republic temporarily (with or without a visa) or permanently (with a permanent residency permit). They approach the ombudsman in particular to obtain temporary or permanent residency permits to remain in the Czech Republic or to fight administrative deportation proceedings. Gabrišová spoke of selective treatment of foreigners on the part of the government and inappropriate, arrogant behavior on the part of certain public officials. The ombudsman’s office also believes that granting of Czech citizenship deserves more attention, as the Ministry of Interior inadequately justifies its decisions in this respect. As regards applications to the ombudsman from refugees living in the Czech Republic, they usually concern length of the asylum procedure, inadequate situation in admitting facilities for foreigners, delays in disbursement of financial assistance, shortcomings of the state-funded integration program and problems related to reunification of families of recognized refugees and foreigners.
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