Czech Ombudsman to ‘quit’ if MPs ignore his proposals

Pavel Varvařovský says lawmakers will need to find a new public defender of rights by year’s end if his proposals aren’t addressed

Politics & Policy|Society
Brian Kenety | 07.06.2012
Pavel Varvařovský, Ombudsman

Czech Ombudsman Pavel Varvařovský has again threatened to resign from his post unless the lower house or Parliament adopts changes he has proposed, for example on a draft law that would allow municipalities to ban repeat offenders without a permanent residence from living there for up to three months.

“Should this tendency to ignore my recommendations continue, you will have to find another public defender of rights by the end of the year,” Varvařovský told MPs on Thursday during a discussion of the Ombudsman’s annual report. As for the residency law, he said he hoped the Constitutional Court would strike it down “without batting an eye.”

Varvařovský also repeated his appeal to lawmakers to repeal a law requiring unemployed people to regularly report at Czech post offices, a measure meant to cut down on benefits fraud that he said was an affront to human dignity. To be required to “show up at a place that does not provide any assistance in obtaining work is a kind of perversion,” he said earlier, as cited by the news server Novinky.cz.

The Ombudsman’s office said in its 2011 report that this practice is at variance with Art. 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms and also contravenes the purpose of the Employment Act.

In 2011, Varvařovský concentrated on establishing closer contacts with the lower house (Chamber of Deputies) through its committees. He appeared in person at some committee meetings and promoted his legislative suggestions or requested MPs to push for them in the form of a draft amendment or draft law.

In addition to personal appearances, the Ombudsman sent his written standpoints to the chairmen and chairwomen of the committees with a request for taking them into account when examining laws. 

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