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Public Defender of Rights

Anna Šabatová – Public Defender of Rights

Anna Šabatová was born in Brno in 1951 to Anna and Jaroslav Šabata.

In 1969 she began studies in history and philosophy. However, she could not finish her studies due to political reasons. In November 1971, she was prosecuted and remanded in custody for distributing leaflets on parliamentary elections. She was sentenced to 3 years of imprisonment for subversion. She then worked as an officer and later also as a manual worker. She was involved in the independent movement; she participated in the founding of Charter 77 and served as its speaker in 1986. In 1978 she became a co-founder of the Committee for the Defence of the Unjustly Prosecuted and was a member of the Committee until 1990.

In 1996 she graduated from Czech Studies at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague. In 2008 she completed her doctoral studies in theory of law at the Faculty of Law of Masaryk University in Brno. She is the author of the monograph The Ombudsman and Human Rights (Ombudsman a lidská práva; 2008). She worked as an editor in the Doplněk publishing house and also in the editorial office of the Social Work Forum journal (Fórum sociální práce).

In 1990s, she has worked in the Municipal Social Services Center of the Prague City Hall, where she eventually became the Deputy Director. She also served as a social services adviser to two Czech Ministers of Labour and Social Affairs. Between 2001 and 2007, she discharged the office of Deputy Public Defender of Rights. Between 2008 and 2014, she worked at the department of social work at the Charles University’s Faculty of Arts, where she gave lectures on human rights in the context of social work. She simultaneously chaired the Czech Helsinki Committee. She also worked in advisory bodies to the Prison Service of the Czech Republic and the Czech Office for International Legal Protection of Children.

Between 2008 and 2011 she represented the Czech Republic as a member of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), which is an advisory body to the Council of Europe.

She was awarded the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights, the Czech presidential Medal of Merit, the Alice Garrigue Masaryk Prize (awarded by the American Ambassador in Prague) and the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.

She was never a member of any political party. She is married to Petr Uhl, a journalist. She has three children – Pavel Uhl, Saša Uhlová and Michal Uhl and also seven grandchildren. She speaks French, German and Russian.

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