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UN Criticizes Czech Treatment Of Migrants, 'Islamophobic' Statement

The UN human rights chief has criticized the Czech Republic for its policy of detaining migrants in "degrading conditions" and strip-searching them for money to pay for their own detention.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said in a statement on October 22 that credible reports indicated "the violations of the human rights of migrants are...systematic" in the country.

The statement took aim in particular at detention facilities such as Bila-Jezova north of Prague, saying that even Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikan had called it "worse than a prison."

It cited an internal Czech report on October 13 that said 100 children were inside when the rapporteur visited.

Zeid also said he was alarmed by a xenophobic public discourse, including Islamophobic statements by Czech President Milos Zeman.

Zeman's office, however, rejected the criticism, saying: "The president has long warned of the threat of Islamic fundamentalism. He stands by his opinion and he will not change it under pressure from abroad."

The Czech Republic opposes a European Union quota system to distribute refugees among the bloc's 28 members.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters