Press Conferences

1. 6. 2007 10:39

Press conference on the occasion of the International Children's Day held on Friday 1st June, 2007

Little Tereza Šálová: Good afternoon, welcome to the press conference on the occasion of the International Children Day. I give the floor to the Prime Minister, Mr. Mirek Topolánek.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I thank you for the floor. This untraditional introduction is something we would like to introduce, so that the International Children's day would bring something to children. Not only to be photographed with children in our hands on playgrounds; we would like to bring them something concrete. We are convinced that happy life of children depends in particular on the family and love of parents. In case children have parents, of course. Therefore the government primarily strengthens position of the family; I mean economic, social and legal position. Only well operating family can ensure sound development of the new generation. It depends on parents whether they decide to have children, what education they provide. The duty of the state and its representatives is to create conditions. Not to punish them through taxes for having children, to strengthen position of the family, to create conditions for education. Only in case there is no family, it is the state which must act. Of course, cases of maltreated and abused children are significant media topics. We must know how to act in such cases. We must prefer to reduce number of such cases. We are still of the opinion that the family is a basis of the state. All the three coalition parties agree on family support. We feel strongly about the family and we will support it. On the occasion of today's day of all children I wish all the children, my children, children of my intimate friends, children of the entire country and also children who are not born yet, I wish their dreams came true, I wish they had secure childhood and felt love and care around them. I promise that we will not leave those less happy children in the lurch. And now I ask my colleagues, first of all Dana Kuchtová, then Džamila Stehlíková, Jiří Pospíšil and then I will act on behalf of Petr Nečas, to present concretely what we will bring our children on the occasion of the International Children day.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Prime Minister and little Tereza for opening the press conference and the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports has the floor.

Dana Kuchtová, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. On the occasion of the International Children Day I visited the primary school in Horáčkova Street in Praha 4 district, and I took part in a very nice competition, in games, which were very good activities for the children's day. It was an informal celebration of children. Those children there were happy and content, as I could notice. I recommended also other schoolmasters to spend this day rather untraditionally, so that children feel well on their holiday. So much for the introduction. I wish all the children were happy, grew in conditions fit for them. I would like them to have such conditions, especially in terms of education and upbringing, so that we never need to look into faces of suffering children, as it was in case of little Andrew from Kuřim recently. Let me, in connection with this tragic case, say that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports will prepare such change of conditions for education on primary schools, to support communication between schools and parents. It does not mean increase of number of examination on no account. It rather means that a headmaster will have a right, following an agreement with parents or statutory representatives, to decide on consultations in such an extent, which is necessary. Such a measure will be useful not only because of ensuring proper standard of education, but primarily because it will become a tool of prevention of social-pathological phenomena, in case of any doubts concerning the situation of a child. We are preparing this in the form of amendment to a law and I have a concrete proposal here, if you are interested; the second way is to solve it through a regulation. But I incline to the solution through an amendment to the law. Let me mention that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport deals with primary prevention of social-pathological phenomena and we pay great attention to this issue, whether it concerns bullying, drug prevention and other issues. Thank you.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Minister of Education, Youth and Sport and now the Minister of the Government for Human Rights and National Minorities, Mrs. Džamila Stehlíková, has the floor.

Džamila Stehlíková, Minister of the Government for Human Rights and National Minorities: Thank you for the floor. Ladies and gentlemen, the existing system of children's right protection is behind the times. The case of maltreated Andrew and non-existed Ann showed drawbacks of the system, which has not been transformed since the socialist era and which is based on collective upbringing and re-upbringing. At present, the government is preparing a complex transformation of the children's social-legal protection system and it will be the family which will be in the centre of the child care. It is just my sphere of activities, which pays attention to the observance of the Constitution and the Declaration on Children's Rights and I want this sphere to be involved in preparation of the reform of institutional upbringing, so that the upbringing would take place in a family, either the original or an alternative one, but not in facilities. For that purpose we formed interdisciplinary team, which will prepare standards facilitating effective children's right protection and which will be working at the inter-ministerial level. It will prepare conditions for decrease of number of children placed in facilities in the course of the following two years. Now we have the highest number of children in facilities, they are 20 000 of them. We are in the first place of all international ranking lists. The task of this state is to ensure the constitutional right of children to upbringing in the family. Thank you.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Minister of the Government for Human Rights and National Minorities and now it is the Minister of Justice, Mr. Jiří Pospíšil, who has the floor.

Jiří Pospíšil, Minister of Justice: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, I want to say that the Ministry of Justice pays great attention to the child and youth protection in the course of preparation of new legal norms, which form the judicial proceedings in the Czech Republic. I do not want to mention all the legal norms, which we are preparing at present. Allow me to mention three examples. A team of experts is working at the Ministry of Justice, which solves legal problems connecting with international kidnapping of children. All of you know from media the Barao case, which speeded up the preparation of the new legal amendment in the Rules of Civil Procedure, which will include more effective and flexible rules concerning how to decide in case a child is kidnapped to another state. This legal norm is already prepared at present, in fact. The government will discuss it in the framework of the amendment to the Rules of Civil Procedure. The Ministry of Justice promised and prepared an extensive information brochure or a leaflet, if you like, for young people, who are going to get married with a foreigner and who could possibly be participants of such critical situations. The leaflet is prepared and it is being printed at present. I suppose the public to be acquainted with it in the course of the month of June. This leaflet will be available at all embassies and it will also be available at registry offices. It will provide people who have contacts with foreigners with detailed information. I would like to emphasize that we are also preparing and we have already provided training of our judges, so that they could be able to apply the Hague Convention on International Kidnappings. My assistant has already handed out you an invitation card for the Monday's conference which will be held at the Ministry of Justice and where we want to train judges and to unify interpretation of the Rules of Civil Procedure in this sphere. The objective is to ensure quick and professional way of deciding in case of kidnapping of a child to the Czech Republic; or on the contrary, quick response of the Czech state in case of kidnapping of a child from the Czech Republic to some other country. I could inform you in detail on the amendment, as it is already formulated, but I do not want to bother you now. The second matter I want to mention concerns the team of experts at the Ministry of Justice, which deals extensive changes in the sphere of execution of judgement regarding conditions of upbringing and support of an underage child. All of us know such execution are sometimes drastic in the Czech Republic and are not done in favour of a child. Therefore the team of expert was established and further amendment is prepared. The objective is to protect rights of a child, to remove phenomena, when executions of judgements do not differ from executions, which concerns property or immovable property. Also in this case I can hand out materials in which there are determined clear conditions regarding humanization of those proceedings and protection of children's rights. For example, obligatory part of those proceedings will be a psychologist, it will be possible to suspend such a proceedings in case it is proved that it is not in favour of a child; it will also be possible to place a child to a special facility in case his/her parents argue about upbringing and try to give a child an idea of negative influence of the other parent. But we are not only preparing amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure, also the amendment of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, which is to protect victims of crimes is prepared. In case a child is a victim of a crime, the amendment should prevent disclosure of information on such a victim. Thank you.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Minister of Justice and now the Prime Minister has the floor again.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I will try to conclude the presentation on behalf of Petr Nečas, who cannot be present. Regarding the issue about which we are speaking here, I think it is clear that we have the issue well thought out, that we are acting as a team, that there is a linkage among all units, which care for children, whether they are welfare officials, doctors, teachers or judges, who decide on the fate of a child, so that to avert repetition of cases that occurred recently. I must say that it has connection with establishment of a specialized state office – the National Office for Employment and Social Administration, which is to start its activities from January 2009, and which is to unify also in this sphere, apart from other things, that care, which is fragmented among municipalities, regions and the state. The office is to contribute to better quality of children's protection. Last year we approved the strategy, in which there is also an individual plan of care for a child included, as Džamila Stehlíková already mentioned, so that an individual plan could be prepared with the help of experts in case of maltreated child, to avert further endanger. Also these cases were frequent in the past. Jiří Pospíšil spoke about the international-legal children's protection, whether it concerned adoptions or kidnappings and similar phenomena. I would like to say that in the brochure, which I am going to show you and the name of which is "For Carefree Life of Children", which subtitle is "Family Policy of the Government and Measures for Children's Rights Protection", you can also find texts by Ivan Langer and Tomáš Julínek and other ministers, so that we could demonstrate clearly that is not enough just to sit at the edge of a children's sandpit on the occasion of the International Children's day or to be photographed with children; it is necessary to bring concrete, very concrete points for children's protection, for their normal development, for family protection, which ensures children's development. And all that is included in the brochure, which we will give you today. I thank you for your attention. I am glad you have visited this rather untraditional press conference and we wanted to convince you that we are serious about the children's protection and that just the International Children's Day is suitable for such a presentation. Thank you.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Prime Minister and other members of the government and now there is time for your questions.

Štěpánka Martanová, TV Prima: Prime Minister, I would like to know your response to the statement of the Chairman of the CSSD Paroubek, who said that information contained in so called Kubice´s Report was not confirmed and he added that it was your pre-election move. Then, I would like to ask for the response of Mr. Pospíšil.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: You must know that I am not willing to respond to those drivels presented by Jiří Paroubek and I will not respond to them.

Jiří Pospíšil, Minister of Justice: I will not respond to them either.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Further question. I ask for a question concerning children.

Lenka Nejezchlebová, MfDnes: Good afternoon. I would like to ask in what time horizon the office you are planning, that National Office, which is to unify the fragmented care for children, is to be established and in what phase is the process now?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I mentioned it in my speech.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: It should start from 1st January 2009. Further question.

Lucie Alexová, TV Nova: I will try it again. It is showing at present that one of the influenced witnesses in the Čunek Case was the Deputy Minister for Regional Development, who decides on money from the EU. What do you say to that?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Nothing. I have no right to assess the investigation and I think that I expressed my opinion clearly yesterday and I am not willing to repeat it.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Is there any further question concerning children? It is not so, therefore we thank you for coming and good-bye.

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