Published on October 22, 2021 News

Visegrad hosted meeting of V4 ombudspersons

Representatives of ombudsman institutions of the V4 countries met at the invitation of the Hungarian Ombudsman in the city that gave its name to this group of Central European countries. At the two-day meeting, they presented how they deal with selected problems in their countries.

One of the main topics was the protection against ill-treatment of people deprived of their liberty. Ombudsman Stanislav Křeček described the situation in the Czech Republic during the COVID-19 pandemic. Restricting contact with the outside world was particularly problematic.

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff of the Ombudsman's Office continued to systematically visit places where people could be restricted in their freedom, either by law or because of dependence on care. The Deputy Ombudsman, to whom the Ombudsman has delegated responsibility in this area, had shared the findings of the visits to the facilities not only with staff and founders, but also at ministerial level. She has thus achieved the modification of some regulations, including the lifting of the curfew, which originally applied to the social care facilities in the Czech Republic even after the end of the state of emergency.

Stanislav Křeček also presented the Office's work in the area of protecting the interests and rights of future generations to the ombudsmen of Hungary, Poland and ombudswoman of Slovakia. The Czech Republic does not have a national human rights institution under the UN Paris Principles. In some countries, this function is performed by ombudsman institutions. In the Czech Republic, the ombudsman's activities in this area are limited primarily to protection against the actions of the authorities. In the context of the interests of future generations, it is mainly concerned with issues related to the protection of the environment.

Among the cases of recent years, the Czech Ombudsman has mentioned, for example, the investigation into the exemption for mercury and nitrogen oxide emissions granted to the Chvaletice power plant, or the case of the possible impact on groundwater resources by gravel extraction in the vicinity of the Bzenec spring area in southern Moravia. He also presented the investigation into the authorities' handling of last year's ecological accident on the Bečva River, activities related to the protection of the Olomouc conservation area in connection with the planned construction of the so-called Šantovka Tower and - last but not least - the issue of the new Building Act, which came into force despite extensive comments from the expert public and the Ombudsman.  

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