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Frontpage News 2019 Programme agreement signed for the Human Rights programme in Czech Republic

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Photo: Christophe Vander Eecken

Programme agreement signed for the Human Rights programme in Czech Republic

The programme agreement for Czech Republic – Human Rights was signed on 19 June 2019.

Key information about the programme
The programme is operated by: Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic
International Partner Organisation (IPO): Council of Europe (CoE), European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)
The programme's objective is: Human rights situation improved, and discrimination and extremism combatted at national level
The programme funding (excluding co-financing) amounts to 19 million Euros and is funded entirely through the Norway Grants

Why is the programme needed?

Fostering human rights and addressing discrimination and extremism are priorities for the Norway Grants. The Grants recognise that respect for human rights and dignity, together with the principles of freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law are values are common to all European Union countries and that actions are needed to ensure that these values are upheld.  The Czech Republic works on the promotion and protection of human rights and promotes equality and non-discrimination. However, challenges have been identified, for example regarding Roma inclusion and the need to address domestic and gender-based violence. Through the Human Rights programme the Norway Grants will stimulate the development of measures which strengthen the ability of Czech authorities to protect human rights and implement the conditions of international treaties. The programme will also contribute to improved efforts for Roma inclusion and empowerment. It will support measures aiming at the prevention and the protection of victims of domestic and gender-based violence.  

The programme will support data collection regarding the Roma minority and in doing so it will help to alleviate one of the most pressing human rights challenges in the Czech society. Reliable information about the Roma community is needed in order to develop efficient strategies and policies that are required in order to improve equal treatment of Roma and non-discrimination efforts. In this regard the programme aims to provide public institutions with means to improve their capacity to protect human rights and provide access to justice for vulnerable and marginalized groups, including Roma.  

The programme will also aim to further contribute to the Czech Republic’s aim to take action against violence against women and domestic violence. The programme will do this by support to specialized services for victims and perpetrators and a greater regional outreach in these services. In doing so the programme will contribute to a greater availability of the specialized services complying with the standards of the Istanbul Convention (which has been signed but not yet ratified by the Czech Republic).

What will the programme achieve and who are the beneficiaries?

The Norway Grants Human rights programme will provide support for the development of systems for data collection, analysis and evaluation of the current situation of Roma communities. These systems will provide national institutions with reliable data for evidence-based and targeted policy making. This component of the programme will also provide support for capacity building and the empowerment of 25 Roma advisors to contribute to Roma integration strategies at local level. Education and training of regional authorities’ employees working with Roma will also be supported. The measures will include support for activities aimed at inclusion of Roma children in leisure programmes and extracurricular education. These activities are aimed at reducing the number of Roma children dropping out of school in four municipalities. The programme will contribute to the establishment of a new Centre of Czech Sinti and Roma in Prague. This Centre aims to improve public awareness about Roma culture. The Centre will provide information on Roma history, with emphasis on the Holocaust period, present Romani art and culture and be an open space for events supporting mutual understanding.

The needed increase in capacities and competences of public institutions in protecting human rights requires sufficient funding in order to train judges and judicial personnel and improve the skills of civil servants in this area in order to enable them to better respond to the needs of vulnerable and marginalized groups and to improve the inclusion of human rights standards in their work. 5800 professional staff will be trained in human rights protection in the programme. Awareness raising campaigns and targeted education under the programme are expected to contribute to greater inclusion of vulnerable groups in the Czech Republic.

Protection of victims of domestic and gender-based violence will be addressed through projects establishing new specialized centres for victims in addition to measures for capacity building in the existing intervention centres. The programme will support organizations providing interventions targeting violent offenders in order to protect potential victims. An important component of the programme targets capacity development in public administration, education professionals and social workers through training and awareness raising in order to improve the knowledge and awareness on current, new and emerging forms of gender-based violence. More than 600 professionals, public officers, including police officers and health workers, will be trained in protection and prevention of domestic and gender-based violence. A project applying criminological research methods shall promote a better understanding of the whole scope of domestic and gender-based violence and shall result in evidenced-based and efficient policy development for the future.

How will the programme strengthen bilateral relations?

There is no donor programme partner within the Programme. Bilateral cooperation with Norway will take place at project level. The Programme Operator will hold a matchmaking workshop for potential and relevant Czech and Norwegian entities and stakeholders in order to facilitate the establishment of bilateral cooperation within the programme. In two of the project’s cooperation in the fields of legal education and mediation at schools and measures for efficient implementation of the Istanbul Convention will be carried out. Additional bilateral initiatives such as study trips, conferences and transfer of knowledge and know how are also foreseen. The bilateral ambitions of the programme shall be further strengthened by the “Synergy network” initiated by the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security. The network shall create synergies through networking across countries fighting domestic and gender-based violence, thus increasing the impact of the relevant programmes.

Experience and expertise shared by the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) will also benefit the Programme. They provided assistance during the preparation of the programme and will continue to do so during its implementation. The Council of Europe is involved in the areas of human rights and domestic and gender-based violence, while FRA is involved in activities related to the strengthening of the work on Roma inclusion and empowerment.

Availability of funding through open calls

The funding in this programme will be made available through the following open calls:

  • Call 1
    • Component A – Fourth quarter 2019
    • Component B – Fourth quarter 2019
  • Call 2 – Third quarter 2020
  • Call 3 – First quarter 2020
  • Small grant Scheme:
    • Component A - Second quarter 2020
    • Component B - Second quarter 2020
    • Component C - Second quarter 2020
    • Component D - Second quarter 2020

Download the full programme agreement for more detailed information about the programme.

More information can also be found on the Programme Operator’s website.