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Czech Republic

Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms

 

 


CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND BASIC FREEDOMS

RESOLUTION

of the Presidium of the Czech National Council of 16 December 1992

on the declaration of the

CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

AND BASIC FREEDOMS

as a part of the constitutional order of the Czech Republic

The Presidium of the Czech National Council has adopted the following Resolution:

The Presidium of the Czech National Council hereby declares the CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL

RIGHTS AND BASIC FREEDOMS as a part of the constitutional order of the Czech Republic.

CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

AND BASIC FREEDOMS

The Federal Assembly,

on the basis of the proposals of the Czech National Council and the Slovak National

Council, Recognizing the inviolability of the natural rights of man, the rights of

citizens, and the sovereignty of the law, Proceeding from the universally-shared

values of humanity and from our nations’ traditions of democracy and self-government,

Mindful of the bitter experience of periods when human rights and fundamental freedoms

were suppressed in our homeland, Placing hope in the common endeavors of all free

nations to safeguard these rights, Ensuing from the Czech and Slovak nations’ right

to self-determination, Recalling its share of responsibility towards future generations

for the fate of all life on Earth, and Expressing the resolve that the Czech and Slovak

Federal Republic should join in dignity the ranks of countries cherishing these values,

Has enacted this Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms:

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1

All people are free, have equal dignity, and enjoy equality of rights. Their fundamental

rights and basic freedoms are inherent, inalienable, non-prescriptible, and not subject

to repeal.

Article 2

(1) Democratic values constitute the foundation of the state, so that it may not be

bound either by an exclusive ideology or by a particular religious faith.

(2) State authority may be asserted only in cases and within the bounds provided for

by law and only in the manner prescribed by law.

(3) Everyone may do that which is not prohibited by law; and nobody may be compelled

to do that which is not imposed upon him by law.

Article 3

(1) Everyone is guaranteed the enjoyment of her fundamental rights and basic freedoms

without regard to gender, race, color of skin, language, faith and religion,

political or other conviction, national or social origin, membership in a national

or ethnic minority, property, birth, or other status.

(2) Everybody has the right freely to choose his nationality. It is prohibited to

influence this choice in any way, just as is any form of pressure aimed at suppressing

a person’s national identity.

(3) Nobody may be caused detriment to her rights merely for asserting her fundamental

rights and basic freedoms.

Article 4

(1) Duties may be imposed upon persons only on the basis of and within the bounds of law,

and only while respecting the fundamental rights and basic freedoms of the individual.

(2) Limitations may be placed upon the fundamental rights and basic freedoms only by law

and under the conditions prescribed in this Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic

Freedoms (hereinafter "Charter").

(3) Any statutory limitation upon the fundamental rights and basic freedoms must apply

in the same way to all cases which meet the specified conditions.

(4) In employing the provisions concerning limitations upon the fundamental rights and

basic freedoms, the essence and significance of these rights and freedoms must be

preserved. Such limitations are not to be misused for purposes other than those for

which they were laid down.

CHAPTER TWO

HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS

DIVISION ONE

FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS

Article 5

Everyone has the capacity to possess rights.

Article 6

(1) Everyone has the right to life. Human life is worthy of protection even before

birth.

(2) Nobody may be deprived of his life.

(3) The death penalty is prohibited.

(4) Deprivation of life is not inflicted in contravention of this Article if it occurs

in connection with conduct which is not criminal under the law.

Article 7

(1) The inviolability of the person and of her private life is guaranteed. They may be

limited only in cases provided for by law.

(2) No one may be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment

or punishment.

Article 8

(1) Personal liberty is guaranteed.

(2) No one may be prosecuted or deprived of her liberty except on the grounds and

in the manner specified by law. No one may be deprived of her liberty merely

on the grounds of inability to fulfill a contractual obligation.

(3) A person accused of or suspected of having committed a criminal act may be

detained only in cases specified by law. A person who is detained shall promptly

be informed of the grounds for the detention, questioned, and within forty-eight

hours at the latest, either released or turned over to a court. A judge must

question the detained person and decide, within twenty-four hours of receiving him,

whether the person shall be placed in custody or released.

(4) A person accused of a criminal act may be arrested only on the basis of a warrant

issued by a judge in writing and stating the reasons for the arrest. The arrested

person shall be turned over to a court within twenty-four hours. A judge shall

question the arrested person and decide, within twenty-four hours, whether the person

shall be placed or released.

(5) A person may be placed in custody only on the grounds and for the length of time laid

down in a law, and only on the basis of a judicial decision.

(6) The law shall specify the cases in which a person may be committed to or kept

in a medical institution without her consent. A court must be notified within

twenty-four hours that such a measure has been taken, and it shall decide within

seven days whether the placement was proper.

Article 9

(1) No one may be subjected to forced labor or service.

(2) The provision of paragraph 1 shall not apply to:

a) labor imposed in accordance with law upon persons serving a prison sentence or upon

persons serving other penalties that take the place of the penalty of imprisonment,

b) military service or some other service provided for by law in place of compulsory

military service,

c) service required on the basis of law in the event of natural disasters, accidents,

or other danger threatening human life, health, or property of significant value,

d) conduct imposed by law for the protection of life, health, or the rights of others.

Article 10

(1) Everyone has the right to demand that his human dignity, personal honor, and good

reputation be respected, and that his name be protected.

(2) Everyone has the right to be protected from any unauthorized intrusion into her private

and family life.

(3) Everyone has the right to be protected from the unauthorized gathering, public revelation,

or other misuse of his personal data.

Article 11

(1) Everyone has the right to own property. Each owner’s property right shall have the same

content and enjoy the same protection. Inheritance is guaranteed.

(2) The law shall designate that property necessary for securing the needs of the entire

society, the development of the national economy, and the public welfare, which may be

owned exclusively by the state, a municipality, or by designated legal persons; the law

may also provide that certain items of property may be owned exclusively by citizens

or legal persons with their headquarters in the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic.

(3) Ownership entails obligations. It may not be misused to the detriment of the rights

of others or in conflict with legally protected public interests. Property rights may

not be exercised so as to harm human health, nature, or the environment beyond the limits

laid down by law.

(4) Expropriation or some other mandatory limitation upon property rights is permitted

in the public interest, on the basis of law, and for compensation.

(5) Taxes and fees shall be levied only pursuant to law.

Article 12

(1) A person’s dwelling is inviolable. It may not be entered without the permission of

the person living there.

(2) A dwelling may be searched only for the purposes of a criminal proceeding on the basis of

a search warrant issued by a judge in writing and giving the reasons therefor. The manner

in which a dwelling may be searched shall be set down in a law.

(3) Other encroachments upon the inviolability of a dwelling may be permitted by law only

if such is necessary in a democratic society for the protection of the life or health

of individuals, for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others, or in order

to avert a serious threat to public security and order. If a dwelling is also used for

a business enterprise of for carrying on other economic activities, the law may also

permit such an encroachment if it is necessary to fulfill the duties of public

administration.

Article 13

No one may violate the confidentiality of letters or other papers or records, whether privately

kept or sent by post or by some other means, except in the cases and in the manner designated

by law. The confidentiality of communications sent by telephone, telegraph, or by other similar

devices is guaranteed in the same way.

Article 14

(1) The liberty of movement and the freedom of the choice of residence is guaranteed.

(2) Everyone who is legitimately staying within the territory of the Czech and Slovak Federal

Republic has the right freely to leave it.

(3) These freedoms may be limited by law if such is unavoidable for the security of the state,

the maintenance of public order, the protection of the rights and freedoms of others or,

in demarcated areas, for the purpose of protecting nature.

(4) Every citizen is free to enter the territory of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic.

No citizen may be forced to leave his homeland.

(5) An alien may be expelled only in cases specified by the law.

Article 15

(1) The freedom of thought, conscience, and religious conviction is guaranteed. Everyone has

the right to change her religion or faith or to be non-denominational.

(2) The freedom of scholarly research and of artistic creation is guaranteed.

(3) No one may be compelled to perform military service if such is contrary to his conscience

or religious conviction. Detailed provisions shall be laid down in a law.

Article 16

(1) Everyone has the right freely to manifest her religion or faith, either alone or in

community with others, in private or public, through worship, teaching, practice,

and observance.

(2) Churches and religious societies govern their own affairs; in particular, they establish

their own bodies and appoint their clergy, as well as found religious orders and other

church institutions, independent of state authorities.

(3) The conditions under which religious instruction may be given at state schools shall be

set by law.

(4) The exercise of these rights may be limited by law in the case of measures necessary

in a democratic society for the protection of public safety and order, health and morals,

or the rights and freedoms of others.

DIVISION TWO

POLITICAL RIGHTS

Article 17

(1) The freedom of expression and the right to information are guaranteed.

(2) Everyone has the right to express his views in speech, in writing, in the press,

in pictures, or in any other form, as well as freely to seek, receive, and

disseminate ideas and information irrespective of the frontiers of the state.

(3) Censorship is not permitted.

(4) The freedom of expression and the right to seek and disseminate information may

be limited by law in the case of measures that are necessary in a democratic

society for protecting the rights and freedoms of others, the security of the

state, public security, public health, or morals.

(5) State bodies and territorial self-governing bodies are obliged, in an appropriate

manner, to provide information with respect to their activities. Conditions

therefor and the implementation thereof shall be provided for by law.

Article 18

(1) The right of petition is guaranteed; in matters of public or other communal interest,

everyone has the right, on her own or together with other individuals, to address

state bodies or territorial self-governing bodies with requests, proposals, or

complaints.

(2) Petitions may not be misused to intrude upon the independence of the courts.

(3) Petitions may not be misused for the purpose of calling for the violation of

the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by this Charter.

Article 19

(1) The right of peaceful assembly is guaranteed.

(2) The exercise of this right may be limited by law in the case of assemblies held in

public places, if it concerns measures that are necessary in a democratic society for

the protection of the rights and freedoms of others, public order, health, morals,

property, or the security of the state. However, an assembly shall not be made to

depend on the grant of permission by a public administrative authority.

Article 20

(1) The right of association is guaranteed. Everybody has the right to associate together

with others in clubs, societies, and other associations.

(2) Citizens also have the right to form political parties and political movements and to

associate in them.

(3) The exercise of these rights may be limited only in cases specified by law, if it involves

measures that are necessary in a democratic society for the security of the state,

the protection of public security and public order, the prevention of crime, or

the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

(4) Political parties and political movements, as well as other associations, are separate

from the state.

Article 21

(1) Citizens have the right to participate in the administration of public affairs either

directly or through the free election of their representatives.

(2) Elections must be held within terms not exceeding the regular electoral terms provided

for by law.

(3) The right to vote is universal and equal, and shall be exercised by secret ballot.

The conditions for exercising the right to vote shall be provided for by law.

(4) Citizens shall have access, on an equal basis, to any elective and other public office.

Article 22

Any statutory provisions relating to political rights and freedoms, as well as

the interpretation and application of them, shall make possible and protect the free

competition among political forces in a democratic society.

Article 23

Citizens have the right to put up resistance to any person who would do away with

the democratic order of human rights and fundamental freedoms established by this

Charter, if the actions of constitutional institutions or the effective use of legal

means have been frustrated.

CHAPTER THREE

THE RIGHTS OF NATIONAL AND ETHNIC MINORITIES

Article 24

A person’s affiliation with any national or ethnic minority group may not be to

her detriment.

Article 25

(1) Citizens who constitute a national or ethnic minority are guaranteed

all-round development, in particular, the right to develop, together with

other members of the minority, their own culture, the right to disseminate

and receive information in their native language, and the right to associate

in national associations. Detailed provisions shall be set down by law.

(2) Citizens belonging to national and ethnic minority groups are also guaranteed,

under the conditions set down by law:

a) the right to education in their own language,

b) the right to use their own language when dealing with officials,

c) the right to participate in the resolution of affairs that concern national

and ethnic minorities.

CHAPTER FOUR

ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, AND CULTURAL RIGHTS

Article 26

(1) Everybody has the right to the free choice of his profession and to

the training for that profession, as well as to engage in commercial and

economic activity.

(2) Conditions and limitations may be set by law upon the right to engage in

certain professions or activities.

(3) Everybody has the right to acquire the means of her livelihood by work.

The state shall provide an adequate level of material security to those

citizens who are unable, through no fault of their own, to exercise this

right; conditions shall be provided for by law.

(4) Different statutory rules may apply to aliens.

Article 27

(1) Everyone has the right to associate freely with others for the protection

of his economic and social interests.

(2) Trade unions shall be established independently of the state. No limits may

be placed upon the number of trade union organizations, nor may any of them

be given preferential treatment in a particular enterprise or sector of

industry.

(3) The activities of trade unions and the formation and activities of similar

associations for the protection of economic and social interests may be

limited by law in the case of measures necessary in a democratic society

for the

protection of the security of the state, public order, or the rights and

freedoms of others.

(4) The right to strike is guaranteed under the conditions provided for by law;

this right does not appertain to judges, prosecutors, or members of the armed

forces or security corps.

Article 28

Employees have the right to fair remuneration for their work and to satisfactory

work conditions. Detailed provisions shall be set by law.

Article 29

(1) Women, adolescents, and persons with health problems have the right to

increased protection of their health at work and to special work conditions.

(2) Adolescents and persons with health problems have the right to special

protection in labor relations and to assistance in vocational training.

(3) Detailed provisions shall be set by law.

Article 30

(1) Citizens have the right to adequate material security in old age and during

periods of work incapacity, as well as in the case of the loss of their

provider.

(2) Everyone who suffers from material need has the right to such assistance

as is necessary to ensure her a basic living standard.

(3) Detailed provisions shall be set by law.

Article 31

Everyone has the right to the protection of his health. Citizens shall have

the right, on the basis of public insurance, to free medical care and to medical

aids under conditions provided for by law.

Article 32

(1) Parenthood and the family are under the protection of the law. Special

protection is guaranteed to children and adolescents.

(2) Pregnant women are guaranteed special care, protection in labor relations,

and suitable work conditions.

(3) Children, whether born in or out of wedlock, enjoy equal rights.

(4) It is the parents’ right to care for and raise their children; children

have the right to upbringing and care from their parents. Parental rights

may be limited and minor children may be removed from their parents’ custody

against the latters’ will only by the decision of a court on the basis of

the law.

(5) Parents who are raising children have the right to assistance from the state.

(6) Detailed provisions shall be set by law.

Article 33

(1) Everyone has the right to education. School attendance shall be obligatory

for the period specified by law.

(2) Citizens have the right to free elementary and secondary school education,

and, depending on particular citizens’ ability and the capability of society,

also to university-level education.

(3) Private schools may be established and instruction provided there only under

conditions set by law; education may be provided at such schools in exchange

for tuition.

(4) The conditions under which citizens have the right to assistance from the

state during their studies shall be set by law.

Article 34

(1) The rights to the fruits of one’s creative intellectual work shall be protected

by law.

(2) The right of access to the nation’s cultural wealth is guaranteed under

the conditions set by law.

Article 35

(1) Everyone has the right to a favorable environment.

(2) Everyone has the right to timely and complete information about the state of

the environment and natural resources.

(3) No one may, in exercising her rights, endanger or cause damage to the environment,

natural resources, the wealth of natural species, or cultural monuments beyond

the extent designated by law.

CHAPTER FIVE

THE RIGHT TO JUDICIAL AND OTHER LEGAL PROTECTION

Article 36

(1) Everyone may assert, through the legally prescribed procedure, his rights

before an independent and impartial court or, in specified cases, before another

body.

(2) Unless a law provides otherwise, a person who claims that her rights were

curtailed by a decision of a public administrative authority may turn to a court

for review of the legality of that decision. However, judicial review of

decisions affecting the fundamental rights and basic freedoms listed in this

Charter may not be removed from the jurisdiction of courts.

(3) Everybody is entitled to compensation for damage caused him by an unlawful

decision of a court, other state bodies, or public administrative authorities,

or as the result of an incorrect official procedure.

(4) Conditions therefor and detailed provisions shall be set by law.

Article 37

(1) Everyone has the right to refuse to give testimony if she would thereby

incriminate herself or a person close to her.

(2) In proceedings before courts, other state bodies, or public administrative

authorities, everyone shall have the right to assistance of counsel from

the very beginning of such proceedings.

(3) All parties to such proceedings are equal.

(4) Anyone who declares that he does not speak the language in which a proceeding

is being conducted has the right to the services of an interpreter.

Article 38

(1) No one may be removed from the jurisdiction of his lawful judge. The jurisdiction

of courts and the competence of judges shall be provided for by law.

(2) Everyone has the right to have her case considered in public, without

unnecessary delay, and in her presence, as well as to express her views on all

of the admitted evidence. The public may be excluded only in cases specified

by law.

Article 39

Only a law may designate the acts which constitute a crime and the penalties or

other detriments to rights or property that may be imposed for committing them.

Article 40

(1) Only a court may determine a person’s guilt and designate the punishment

for criminal acts.

(2) A person against whom a criminal proceeding has been brought shall be considered

innocent until his guilt is declared in a court’s final judgment of conviction.

(3) An accused has the right to be given the time and opportunity to prepare

a defense and to be able to defend herself, either pro se or with the assistance

of counsel. If she fails to choose counsel even though the law requires her

to have one, she shall be appointed counsel by the court. The law shall set down

the cases in which an accused is entitled to counsel free of charge.

(4) An accused has the right to refuse to give testimony; he may not be

deprived of this right in any manner whatsoever.

(5) No one may be criminally prosecuted for an act for which she has already been

finally convicted or acquitted of the charges. This rule shall not preclude

the application, in conformity with law, of extraordinary procedures for legal

redress.

(6) The question whether an act is punishable or not shall be considered, and

penalties shall be imposed, in accordance with the law in effect at the time

the act was committed. A subsequent law shall be applied if it is more

favorable to the offender.

CHAPTER SIX

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 41

(1) The rights specified in Article 26, Article 27(4), Articles 28 to 31,

Article 32(1) and (3), Article 33, and Article 35 of this Charter may

be claimed only within the confines of the laws implementing these

provisions.

(2) Whenever this Charter refers to a law, it is understood to mean a law

enacted by the Federal Assembly, unless, as a result of the constitutional

division of legislative powers, such issues are governed by laws enacted

by the national councils.

Article 42

(1) Whenever this Charter uses the term "citizen", this is to be understood

as a citizen of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic.

(2) While in the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, aliens enjoy the human

rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed by this Charter, unless such

rights and freedoms are expressly extended to citizens alone.

(3) Whenever legal enactments in force employ the term "citizen", this shall

be understood to refer to every individual if it concerns the fundamental

rights and basic freedoms that this Charter extends to everybody irrespective

of his citizenship.

Article 43

The Czech and Slovak Federal Republic shall grant asylum to aliens who are being

persecuted for the assertion of their political rights and freedoms. Asylum

may be denied to a person who has acted contrary to fundamental human rights

and basic freedoms.

Article 44

Restrictions may be placed upon the exercise of the right to engage in business

enterprises and other economic activities, as well as of the right enumerated in

Article 20 para. 2, by judges and prosecutors; by employees in state administration

and in local self-government, holding the positions specified therein; as well as

upon their exercise of the right enumerated in Article 27 para. 4; by members of

security corps and members of the armed forces, as well as, insofar as such is

related to the performance of their duties, upon their exercise of the rights listed

in Articles 18, 19, and 27 paras. 1 to 3. A law may place restrictions upon the

exercise of the right to strike by persons who engage in professions essential for

the protection of human life and health.

 

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