Prime Minister says human rights concerns will remain a priority

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka defended the Czech government’s concerns for human rights issues on Thursday saying that defense of human rights and support for business and trade can go hand-in-hand. The prime minister was responding to criticism from President Miloš Zeman who said during a visit to the regions that excessive emphasis on human rights issues by some Czech top officials was harming Czech exporters and investors in countries like Uzbekistan or Iran. The prime minister said he did not believe one concern excluded the other and stressed that before the fall of communism in 1989 Czechoslovakia itself had relied on the West to bring up human rights issues on its behalf.