The petition Češi pomáhají is standing up against xenophobia, racism, and apathy. The petition calls the Czech government to stick to its own commitment to taking in 1500 refugees. Authors of the petition state on their website that the government’s promise could be fulfilled by taking in Syrian mothers and children. Celebrities such as traveler and publicist Dan Přibáň support the petition. He believes that helping children would not cause public concern of the safety of our country.
“Czechoslovakia has accepted children from Namibia. It is not anything that has not been done before. I think that it is logical and could be accepted by the public,” Přibáň says. “There are many children left in the refugee camps. I have heard many times that everyone is afraid of young men with iPhones,” he refers to President Miloš Zeman’s statement in the past.
The authors of the petition want to remind Czech political representatives of the commitment made in July 2015, when the government decided to take in 1500 refugees. “We are calling the Czech government to fulfill the promise in terms of accepting refugees, predominantly mothers and children, hence they are the most vulnerable group in the packed refugee camps,” the petition states.
The announcement was made by the group “Syrian Children to the Czech Republic”, formed in April 2017 as a reaction to the chemical attack in Idlib. Toxic gases killed dozens of civilians including children. People who wanted to support the initiative had the choice of donating money, educating the public or volunteering.
Among the first hundred signatures were actor David Matásek, biologist Ruth Hálová or translator Šárka Fialová. According to Fialová, the purpose of the project is not to help everyone that would want to reside in Europe. She is convinced that people calling for solidarity with refugees are aware of the safety risks that come with uncontrolled migration. “Several statements make it seem like there is a group of people calling for accepting whomever. That is not true,” she said. “The volunteers are aware that it is necessary to do background checks and see the difference between war refugees and economic migrants. We cannot accept everybody on our ground,” Fialová adds.