Is Czech-Canadian Honeymoon Over?

July 26th, 2008 by Jerry Kott

It’s been less than a year since Canada lifted visa requirements for citizens of the Czech Republic. Last February, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper were excitingly positive about Czech-Canadian relations.

Today, interesting news emerged on the diplomatic front: Canada threatens travel strictures, reports The Prague Post Online. If that were not enough, Radio Prague reports on their web site:

Czech diplomat says that Canada shares asylum seekers’ data, wrongly

The head of the Czech consulate in Ottawa, Karel Hejc, has accused the Canadian border police of passing on asylum seekers’ details to their homeland embassies. Mr Hejc told the Canadian Press that in his time at the Czech Embassy in Ottawa, he had received several faxes bearing the names, surnames and dates of birth of Czechs seeking asylum in Canada. Mr Hejc said that while the Czech Republic did not discriminate against nationals seeking asylum abroad, this could not be guaranteed in the case of every country, and thus the data leaks could lead to persecution of asylum seekers back home. The Canadian government has responded that it only hands over details with the asylum seeker’s consent, and that it is looking into any possible data leaks.

I am not sure what ‘Czech Consulate in Ottawa’ they refer to, but considering the increasing number of asylum seekers from the Czech Republic, the days of visa-free travel for Czechs wishing to visit Canada may come to an end sooner than you think.



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