The 1951 Refugee Convention allows only political persecution, not the fact of living in a war zone, to be used as grounds for asylum, Czech President Milos Zeman said on Tuesday.
According to Zeman, the simplest solution to the refugee crisis would be the deportation of economic migrants and those refugees who show hatred toward others. Zeman was criticized by the head of the Czech Republic’s leading refugee aid agency.
“We all feel compassion for the refugees, but facts have confirmed that 80 percent of them are healthy men who should fight for the freedom of their country. And if they come from countries with no hostilities, they should work for their country, not leave it,” Zeman said, according to the Czech News Agency (CTK).
According to the head of the Czech Organization for Aid to Refugees Martin Rozumek, the convention extends refugee status on at least four other categories, and that European Union law adds other conditions.
“According to European law, it is enough if people have fled from an armed conflict, they need not have anything to do with politics,” Rozumek told CTK.
Spread of Refugees
Zeman weighed in on concern to the spread of Europe’s refugee crisis, following restrictions in Germany’s Bavaria and Austria’s suspension of the Schengen zone.
“I am convinced that next year, the migrant wave will spill over to our country. Restrictive measures of Bavaria and Austria will be the trigger,” Zeman said.
Comparing the refugee crisis to a tsunami, Zeman compared his critics’ words to Czech tourists, who perished during the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami in Southeast Asia.
“Some of them have accused me of spreading hatred, fear and panic. These politicians remind me of the bathing Czech tourists on the Thai beaches at time when a small wave appeared on the horizon. In fact, it is called tsunami,” Zeman said, according to CTK.