K debatě o Čechoameričanech a dvojím občanství
(Vystoupení Jiřiny Fuchsové na přednášce Václava Klause na University of California at Los Angeles ve věci dvojího občanství pro Čechy žijící v Americe - viz tento článek v BL - vyvolalo tento článek v časopise UCLA Daily Bruin News. Článek velmi podrobně vysvětluje celou problematiku - proč žádají američtí Češi o dvojí občanství a přináší také portrét Jiřiny Fuchsové. Zveřejňuji ho zde jen v anglické verzi, protože jde o informace čtenářům BL již dobře známé.
Nezdá se tedy, že by vystoupení Jiřiny Fuchsové vyvolalo na UCLA jen pohoršení, spíše upřímný zájem o celý problém.
Je škoda, že nechce inž. Jan Zahradil čtenářům Britských listů vysvětlit postoj české vlády k tomuto problému. Domnívám se, že by vládní představitelé měli občanům vysvětlovat svůj postoj k palčivým otázkám. A vzhledem k reakcím čtenářů z ČR i ze zahraničí se mi zdá, že problém dvojího českého občanství je jaksi palčivý dost. JČ)
UCLA Daily Bruin News - Tuesday, November 18, 1997
by Andy Shah, Daily Bruin Contributor
Everything was proceeding smoothly Friday as Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus addressed the UCLA public concerning his country's market economy.
But when he started fielding questions, he received a question he didn't appreciate.
A Czech-American poet took the floor and denounced the government's refusal to grant dual citizenship to her and 3O,OOO other Czech-Americans, the only Czech population living abroad without this right.
Jirina Fuchs, the volunteer coordinator of the International Association of Czechs (IAC) for Dual Citizenship, Restitutions and Voting Rights, has been lobbying hard for the past four years to obtain dual citizenship for the 3O,OOO Czech-Americans now living in the United States.
Fuchs continued pleading her case until Chancellor Carnesale, moderator Ivan Berend and the prime minister himself got fed up with her digression. Klaus responded by saying that the problem is "very complex" and that several legislative steps have been taken to rectify the problem.
According to a now-defunct article in the 1928 Treaty of Naturalization between the United States and Czechoslovakia, all Czechs who fled their homeland and became naturalized U.S. citizens after May 7, 1957, automatically lost their Czech citizenship.
However, this past August the treaty became ineffective, with a clause stating that it could be abolished one year from either party's notice, which the U.S. goverment gave in September of 1996. However, since the treaty is not retroactive, these new citizenship rights are inapplicable to exiled Czechs.
Unlike Czechs in South Africa, Canada and other countries, who fled either communist or Nazi oppression, Czech-Americans are the only exiles being denied the return of their citizenship.
Some feel that Fuchs' efforts are excessive. "She's making a big deal out of this," said M.S. Halouzka, a Czech-American present at Klaus's address. "It's a small thing."
Yet Fuchs says this is her duty. "I am a Czech poet," she said. "I hear the cries of the people. I feel the people's suffering."
For the past four years, her organization has been lobbying to obtain Czech citizenship for Czech-Americans living in the United States. "This is absolutely outrageous," Fuchs said. "Czech-Americans don't deserve (to be singled out)."
Fuchs, also a professor of the Czech language and culture at Loyola Marymount University, escaped from Czechoslovakia in 1963.
She began investigating how to reclaim her Czech citizenship after the fall of communism in 1989, and discovered that the problem lay with the Czech side.
Since the formation of the IAC, members have written many letters and petitions to both the Czechs and U.S. governments.
In a letter to government officials, the IAC specified three things they would like to see before the U.S. Senate votes to ratify the Czech Republic's NATO membership: the return of Czech citizenship, the right to property restitutions for people regardless of their citizenship and the right for all Czech citizens to take part in elections, even when abroad.
Following a speech at Washington's Cato Institute last Wednesday, Klaus said, "To speak about justice or injustice is completely unseemly.
"The main injustices are not in the area of property, but of human lives, destinies and carrers, and those cannot be in any manner given back", Klaus said.
The main qualm the IAC has with the denial of Czech-American dual citizenship is that they say it is unconstitutional.
In 1991, the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms was instituted as a constitutional act of the Federal Assembly of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic.
Article 14 of that charter states that "freedom of movement and residence is guaranteed" and "everybody who is legitimately staying on the territory of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic has the freedom to leave it."
Dr. Jaroslav Marik, the head of the Czech Society for the Preservation of Human Rights, agrees that the "automatic withdrawal of citizenship is unconstitutional."
The Czech government sets up rules for citizenship withdrawal but does not follow them," he said. In the near future, a resolution is possible.
According to Mlada Fronta Dnes, a Prague daily newspaper, "By January, government officials are supposed to present a draft of a law, which would introduce a possibility of dual citizenship."
Thousands of Czech-Americans will be keeping an eye on the Czech government in the upcoming months.
Ken Duffy, a student of Fuchs, said, "Even though Czech-Americans have been here (up to) 5O years, many of their hearts are still back home."