Czech PM praises minister responsible for human rights, Prague- Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek (senior ruling Civic Democrats, ODS) today praised activities of Dzamila Stehlikova (junior government Green Party, SZ), minister in charge of issues related to human rights and minorities,, August 28, 2008

Although Stehlikova's proposals are sometimes controversial she is fulfilling the role of human rights "watchdog" very well, Topolanek told journalists after his meeting with Stehlikova today.

He said the establishment of the post of human rights and minorities minister had proved to be a good step.

Topolanek mainly appreciated Stehlikova's cooperation with other ministries which he said was of key importance.

Stehlikova told journalists that in her work she was focusing on ensuring the protection of the elderly, women, children, ethnic, religious and sexual minorities and mentally and physically handicapped persons.

She pointed out that she and her aides had prepared an anti-discrimination bill designed to ensure the protection of rights and freedoms according to European standards.

President Vaclav Klaus vetoed the bill and its future is unclear.

The Chamber of Deputies must discuss it again. However, several ODS deputies insist that they will not vote for it.

Stehlikova said she was also preparing a national programme of prevention of violence against children and women who she believes must be better protected by law.

However, some politicians and citizens consider her proposal for banning corporal punishment of children controversial.

Stehlikova said previously that the goal of her proposal was not to punish parents for slapping their children to discipline them. She stressed in a quarter of such cases parents' corporal punishment was tantamount to cruelty.

Stehlikova said the protection against spreading of HIV virus and AIDS as well as the protection of the youth against gambling should also be strengthened.

She stressed the need to ensure full access to education for physically handicapped persons.

It is also necessary to make the funding of non-profit organisations more effective, Stehlikova said.

Author: CTK

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