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Amnesty International condemns Canada’s decision to reintroduce visas for Czechs
25-08-2009  Rosie Johnston

Amnesty International has called upon the Canadian government to lift visa restrictions for Czechs which it reintroduced in July, pointing to human rights violations in the Czech Republic. In a joint letter the Czech and Mexican branches of Amnesty International called on Ottawa to scrap tourist visas for their countries’ citizens, saying that human rights workers were ‘concerned’ by the approach the Canadian authorities had adopted.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, the head of Czech Amnesty International, Dasa van der Horst, said that all countries had the right to monitor the entry of foreigners into their territory and that visas were a legitimate tool for this. She added that visas should not, however, be used to limit the possibility of refugees seeking protection abroad. Mrs van der Horst highlighted cases of human rights violations in the Czech Republic, referring to the increased activity of far-right extremists targeted mainly at the Czech Republic’s Roma minority. She said that in light of such problems, it was ‘important’ for Canada to continue to offer Czech Roma in particular refugee status.

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