Prague airport checks might solve problems with Canada
published: 08.07.2009, 17:08
updated: 08.07.2009 17:12:40
P i een pot s Kanadou se pr hovo o kontrolch na letiti
Prague – The introduction of preliminary airport checks in Prague is spoken about in diplomatic circles as a possible solution to halt the influx of Czech asylum claimants in Canada, according to CTK's information from the Czech government.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Milan Repka has, however, refused to confirm this.
Airport checks proved effective a few years ago when big numbers of Romanies applied for asylum in Britain.
The Czech Republic was not an EU member then and Britain threatened to introduce visas for Czechs just like Canada does today.
Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout said previously he expects Canada to make a decision on visas re-introduction on the days ahead and he is striving for a change of Canada's stand.
A CTK source close to Canadian diplomacy claims visas will be imposed on Czechs on July 14, but no one would officially confirm this.
Canada reintroduced visas on Czechs in 1997 over a big number of Romany refugee status applicants. It abolished them in 2007.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has long been trying to sign a Czech-Canadian agreement recognising the safe country of origin that would make it impossible to grant asylum to a Czech citizen.
Former Czech foreign minister Cyril Svoboda said Canada is the sole country in the world granting asylum to Czech citizens.
Britain introduced checks at Prague's Ruzyne airport in July 2001 on the basis of a Czech-British agreement.
All passengers travelling to Britain had to explain the purpose of their trip and they were checked by British immigration officers.
If they suspected the passenger of planning to seek asylum in Britain, they prevented him/her from leaving for the country. They rejected about 100 and even more people monthly.
Czech politicians and human rights protectors often criticised the checks.
The checks were carried out irregularly and they resulted in the minimising of the number of asylum applicants.
The British checks definitely ended after the Czech Republic entered the EU in May 2004.
The number of Czech applicants has again been mounting since the visas abolition in 2007. Canadian authorities registered 2581 of them for last year and in the January-April period this year.
A total of 132 Czechs were granted Canadian asylum in the same period.
The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) has managed to deal with and finalise 334 Czech claims. It has dismissed most of them.
Czech Romanies complain of being discriminated against in the Czech Republic. On the other hand, is has been speculated that the Czech Romanies' departures are organised and that some people profit from them.
Meanwhile the information has appeared that Canada is considering changing its social advantages for the applicants waiting for the processing of their applications.