CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
constitutional act Nr. 162/1998 Coll. (came
into force 1st of January 1999)
The Federal Assembly,
the basis of proposals raised by the Czech National Council and by the Slovak
the inviolability of the natural rights of man, of the rights of citizens,
and of the sovereign character of law,
from the universally shared values of humanity and from the democratic and
self-governing traditions of our nations,
the bitter experience gained at times when human rights and fundamental
freedoms had been suppressed in our country,
that these rights will be safeguarded hrough the common effort of all free
from the right of the Czech and Slovak nations to self-determination,
its share of responsibility towards future generations for the fate of life
on this Earth, and
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 Freedoms:
All people are free and equal in their dignity and in their rights. Their
fundamental rights and freedoms are inherent, inalienable, unlimitable, and
(1) The State is founded on democratic values and must not be bound either by
and exclusive ideology or by a particular religion.
(2) The power of the State may be asserted only in cases and within the
limits set by law and in a manner determined by law.
(3) Everybody may do what is not prohibited by law and nobody may be forces
to do what the law does not command.
(1) Fundamental human rights and freedoms are guaranteed to everybody
irrespective of sex , race, colour of skin, language, faith, religion,
political or other conviction, ethic or social origin, membership in a
national or ethnic minority, property, birth, or other status.
(2) Everybody has the right to a free choice of his or her nationality. Any
form of influencing this choice is prohibited, just as any form of pressure
aimed at suppressing one's national identity.
(3) Nobody may be caused detriment to his or her rights because he or she
asserts his or her fundamental rights and freedoms.
Duties may be imposed only by law and within its limit and only if the
fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual are respected.
(2) Any limits placed on fundamental rights and freedoms may be governed only
by law under conditions set by this Charter of Fundamental Rights and
Freedoms (hereinafter referred to only as "the Charter").
(3) Any statutory limitation of the fundamental rights and freedoms must
apply equally to all cases meeting the set conditions.
(4)When the provisions on the limits of the fundamental rights and freedoms
shall be respected. Such limits may not be used for other purposes than those
for which they were instituted.
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms
Everybody has the capacity to possess rights.
(1) Everybody has the right to live. Human life deserves to be protected
already before birth.
Nobody may be deprived of his or her life.
There shall be no capital punishment.
(4) Cases where somebody has been deprived of his or her life in connection
with an act which is not punishable under the law shall not constitute a
violation of rights under the provisions of this Article.
Inviolability of the person and of privacy is guaranteed. It may be limited
only in cases specified by law.
(2) Nobody may be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment
Personal freedom is guaranteed.
(2) Nobody may be prosecuted or deprived of his or her freedom except on
grounds and in a manner specified by law. Nobody may be deprived of his or
her freedom merely because of his or her inability to meet a contractual
(3) Any person accused or suspected of having committed a criminal offence
may be detained only in cases specified by law. Such detained person shall be
informed without delay of the reasons for the detention, questioned, and not
later than within fourty-eight
hours released or turned over to a court. Within twenty four hours of having
taken over the detained person, a judge shall question such person and decide
whether to place in custody or to release the person.
person accused of a criminal act may be arrested only on the basis of a written
warrant issued by a judge, which includes the grounds for its issue. The
arrested person shall be turned over to a court within twenty-four hours. A
judge shall question the arrested person within twenty-four hours and decide
whether to place in custody or to release the person.
(5) Nobody may be placed in custody except for reasons specified by law and
on the basis of a judicial decision.
(6) The law shall determine the cases when a person may be admitted to or
kept in a medical institution without his or her consent. Such move shall be
reported within twenty-four hours to a court which shall then decide on such
placement seven days.
Nobody may be subjected to forced labour or service.
(2) The provision of paragraph 1 shall not apply to
work ordered in accordance with the law to persons serving
other penalties replacing the penalty of imprisonment,
military service or to other service prescribed by law in
place of military duty,
service required on the basis of law in cases of natural
disasters, accidents, or other danger threatering human life, health, or
considerable material values,
action ordered by law to protect the life, health, or
rights of others.
(1) Everybody is entitled to protection of his or her human dignity, personal
integrity, good reputation, and his or her name.
(2) Everybody is entitled to protection against unauthorized interference in
his or her personal and family life.
(3) Everybody is entitled to protection against unauthorized gathering, publication
or other misuse of his or her personal data.
Everybody has the right to own property. The ownership right of all owners
has the same statutory content and enjoys the same protection, inheritance is
(2) The law shall specify which property essential for securing the needs of
the whole society, development of the national economy, and public welfare
may be owned exclusively.
Ownership is binding. It may not be misused to the detriment of the rights of
others or against legally protected public interests. Its exercise may not
cause damage to human health, nature and the environment beyond statutory
(4) Expropriation or other forcible limitation of the ownership right is
possible only in public interest and on the basis of law, and for
(5) Taxes and fees may be levied only on the basis of law.
(1) Sanctity of the home is inviolable. A home may not be entered without
permission of the person living there.
(2) House search is permissible only for purposes of criminal proceedings on
the basis of a written warrant issued by a judge. The manner in which a house
search may be conducted is specified by law.
(3) Other interference in the inviolability of the home may be permitted by
law only if it is essential in a democratic society for protecting the life
or health of individuals, for protecting the rights and freedoms of others,
or for averting a serious threat to public security and order. If a home is
also used for a business enterprise or for pursuit of other economic
activity, the law may also permit the aforesaid interference if it is
essential for realization of the duties of public administration.
may violate secrecy of letters and other papers and records whether privately
kept or sent by post or in another manner, except in cases and in a manner
specified by law. Similar protection is extended to messages communicated by
telephone, telegraph or other such facilities.
(1) Freedom of movement and residence is guaranteed.
(2) Everybody who is legitimately staying on the territory of the Czech and
Slovak Federal Republic has the freedom to leave it.
(3) These freedoms may be limited by law if it is essential for the security
of the State, for maintenance of public order, for protection of the rights
and freedoms of others, and in demarcated areas also for the purpose of
(4) Every citizen is free to enter the territory of the Czech and Slovak Federal
Republic. No citizen may be forced to leave his or her country.
(5) A foreign citizen may be expelled only in cases specified by law.
Freedom of thought, conscience and religious conviction is guaranteed.
Everybody has the right to change his or her religion or faith, or to have no
(2) Freedom of scientific research and of the arts is guaranteed.
(3) Nobody may be forced to perform military service against his or her
conscience or religious conviction. Detailed provisions are set by law.
Everybody has the right to profess freely his or her religion or faith either
alone or jointly with others, privately or in public, through religious
service, instruction, religious acts, or religious ritual.
(2) Churches and religious societies administer their own affairs, in
particular appoint their organs and their priests, and establish religious
orders and other church institutions, independently of organs of the State.
(3) The conditions of religious instruction at state schools shall be set by
(4) Exercise of the aforesaid rights may be limited by law in the case of
measures which are essential in a democratic society for protection of public
security and order, health and morality, or the rights and freedoms of
(1) Freedom of expression and the right to information are guaranteed.
(2) Everybody has the right to express freely his or her opinion by word, 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 essential in a
democratic society for protecting the rights and freedoms of others, the
security of the State, public security, public health, and morality.
(5) Organs of the State and of local self-government shall provide in an
appropriate manner information on their activity. The conditions and the form
of implementation of this duty shall be set by law.
(1) The right of petition is guaranteed; everybody has the right to address
himself or herself, or jointly with other individuals, organs of the State or
of local self-government with requests, proposals and complaints in matters
of public or other common interest.
(2) A petition may not be used to interfere with the independence of the
(3) Petitions may not be used for the purpose of appeals to violate the
fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Charter.
right to assemble peacefully is guaranteed.
(2) This right may be limited by law in the case of assemblies held in public
places, if measures are involved, which are essential in a democratic society
for protecting the rights and freedoms of others, public order, health,
morality, prosperity, or the security of the State. However, assembly shall
not be made dependent on permission by an organ of public administration.
right to associate freely is guaranteed. Everybody has the right to associate
with others in clubs, societies and other associations.
(2) Citizens also have the right to form political parties and political
movements and to associate therein.
(3) The exercise of these rights may be limited only in cases specified by
law, if measures are involved, which are essential in a democratic society
for the security of the State, protection of public security and public
order, prevention of crime, or for protection of the rights and freedoms of
(4) Political parties and political movements, as well as other associations,
are separated from the State.
(1) Citizens have the right to participate in the administration of public
affairs either directly or through free election of their representatives.
(2) Elections shall be held within terms not exceeding statutory electoral
(3) The right to vote is universal and equal, and shall be exercised by
secret ballot. The conditions under which the right to vote are exercised are
set by law.
(4) Citizens shall have access to any elective and other public office under
legal provisions governing all political rights and freedoms, their
interpretation, and their application shall make possible and shall protect
free competition between political forces in a democratic society.
Citizens have the right to resist anybody who would do away with the
democratic order of human rights and fundamental freedoms, established by the
Charter, if the work of the constitutional organs and an effective use of
legal means are frustrated.
Rights of National and Ethnic Minorities
The national or ethnic identity of any individual shall not be used to his or
(1) Citizens who constitute national or ethnic minorities are guaranteed all-
round development, in particular the right to develop with other members of
the minority their own culture, the right to disseminate and receive
information in their language, and the right to associate in ethnic
associations. Detailed provisions in this respect shall be set by law.
(2) Citizens constituting national and ethnic minorities are also guaranteed
under conditions set by law
the right to education in their language,
the right to use their language in official contact,
the right to participate in the settlement of matters
concerning the national and ethnic minorities.
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
(1) Everybody has the right to choose freely his or her profession and the
training for such profession, as well as the right to engage in enterprise
and other economic activity.
(2) The conditions and limitations for the exercise of certain professions or
activities may be set by law.
(3) Everybody has the right to acquire the means of his or her livelihood by
work. The State shall provide appropriate material security to those citizens
who are unable without their fault to exercise this right; the respective
conditions shall be set by law.
(4) Different rules may be set by law for foreign citizens.
has the right to associate freely with others for the protection of his or
her economic and social interests.
(2) Trade unions are established independently of the State. There shall be
no limit placed on the number of trade unions and similar organizations, nor
shall any of them be given preferential treatment in an enterprise or
(3) Activities of trade unions and the formation and activity of similar
organizations for the protection of economic and social interests may be limited
by law in the case of measures essential in a democratic society for
protection of security of the State or public order, or of the rights and
freedoms of others.
(4) The right to strike is guaranteed under conditions set by law; this right
does not appertain to judges, prosecutors, and members of the armed forces
and of security corps.
are entitled to fair remuneration for work and to satisfactory working
conditions. Detailed provisions are set by law.
Women, adolescents, and handicapped persons are entitled to increased
protection of their health at work and to special working conditions.
(2) Adolescents and handicapped persons are entitled to special protection in
labour relations and to assistance in vocational training.
(3) Detailed provisions in this respect shall be set by law.
Citizens are entitled to material security in old age and during
incapacitation for work, as well as in the case of loss of their provider.
(2) Everybody who suffers from material need is entitled to such assistance
as is essential for securing his or her basic living conditions.
(3) Detailed provisions in this respect shall be set by law.
has the right to protection of his or her health. Citizens are entitled under
public insurance to free medical care and to medical aids under conditions
set by law.
Parenthood and the family are under protection of the law. Special protection
of children and adolescents is guaranteed.
(2) During pregnancy women are guaranteed special care, protection in labour
relations, and appropriate working conditions.
(3) Children born in as well as out of wedlock have equal rights.
(4) Care of children and their upbringing are the right of their parents;
children are entitled to parental upbringing and care. Parental rights may be
limited and minor children may be taken away from their parents against the
latter's will only by judicial decision on the basis of law.
(5) Parents who are raising children are entitled to assistance from the
(6) Detailed provisions in this respect shall be set by law.
Everybody has the right to education. School attendance is obligatory for a
period specified by law.
(2) Citizens have the right to free education at elementary and secondary
schools, and depending on the citizen's ability and the potential of society,
also at university-level schools.
(3) Other than state schools may be established and instruction provided
there only under conditions set by law; education at such school may be
provided for tuition.
(4) The conditions under which citizens are entitled to assistance from the
State during their studies are set by law.
rights to the results of creative intellectual activity are protected by law.
(2) The right of access to the cultural wealth is guaranteed under conditions
set by law.
Everybody has the right to live a favourable living environment.
(2) Everybody is entitled to timely and complete information about the state
of the living environment and natural resources.
(3) In exercising his or her rights nobody may endanger or cause damage to
the living environment, natural resources, the wealth of natural species, and
cultural monuments beyond limits set by law.
Right to Judicial and Other Legal Protection
(1) Everybody may assert in the set procedure his or her right in an
independent and unbiased cerate of justice and in specified cases with
(2) Anybody who claims that his or her rights have been violated by a
decision of a public administration organ may turn to a court for a review of
the legality of such decision, unless the law provides differently. However,
review of decisions affecting the fundamental rights and freedoms listed in
the Charter may not be excluded from the jurisdiction of courts.
(3) Everybody is entitled to compensation for damage caused to him or her by
an unlawful decision of a court, another organs of the State or public
administration, or through wrong official procedure.
(4) The conditions and detailed provisions in this respect shall be set by
(1) Everybody has the right to refuse making a statement if he or she would
thereby incriminate himself or herself or a close person.
(2) Everybody has the right to legal assistance in proceedings held before
courts, other organs of the State, or public administration organs from the
beginning of such proceedings.
(3) All parties are equal in the proceedings.
(4) Whoever sates that he or she does not speak the language in which the
proceedings are conducted is entitled to the services of an interpreter.
(1) Nobody shall be denied his or her statutory judge. The jurisdiction of
the court and the competence of the judge are set by law.
(2) Everybody is entitled to having his or her case be considered in public
without unnecessary delay and in his or her presence, and to expressing his
or her opinion on all the submitted evidence. The public may be excluded only
in cases specifies by law.
law shall determine which acts constitute a crime and what penalties or other
detriments to rights or property may be imposed for them.
(1) Only a court shall decide on guilt and on the penalty for criminal
(2) Anybody who is accused of a crime in penal proceedings shall be
considered innocent until proven guilty in a final verdict issued by a court.
(3) The accused has the right to be given the time and the possibility to
prepare his or her defence and to defend himself or herself or through
counsel. If he or she does not choose a counsel although he or she must one
under the law, counsel shall be appointed for him or her by the court. The
law shall determine in what cases the accused is entitled to free counsel.
(4) The accused has the right to refuse making a statement; he or she may not
be denied this right in any manner whatsoever.
Nobody may be prosecuted under penal law for an act of which he or she was
already convicted under a final verdict or of which he or she has been
acquitted. This rule does not preclude the application of special means of
legal redress in accordance with the law.
(6) The question whether an act is punishable or not shall be considered and
penalties shall be imposed in accordance with the law in force at the time
when the act was committed. A subsequent law shall be applied if it is more
favourable for the offender.
(1) The rights listed ind Article 26, Article 27, par.4, Articles 28 to 31,
Article 32, pars.1 and 3, and Articles 33 and 35 of the Charter may be
claimed only within the scope of the laws implementing these provisions.
(2) Wherever the Charter speaks of a law, this is to be understood as a law
enacted by the Federal Assembly, unless it ensues from the constitutional
division of legislative jurisdiction that the respective regulation
appertains to laws enacted by the National Councils.
Wherever the Charter uses the term "citizen", it is to be
understood as a citizen of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic.
(2) Citizens of other countries shall enjoy in the Czech and Slovak Federal
Republic the human rights and fundamental rights and freedoms the Charter
extends to everybody irrespective of his or her citizenship.
The Czech and Slovak Federal Republic shall grant asylum to citizens of other
countries, persecuted for asserting political rights and freedoms. Asylum may
be denied to a person who acted contrary to fundamental human rights and freedoms.
A law may limit the exercise by judges and prosecutors of the right to
business enterprise and other economic activity and of the right listed in
Article 20, par. 2; it may furthermore limit the exercise by members of security
corps and members of the armed forces of the rights listed in Articles 18,
19, and 27, pars. 1 to 3, in so far as they are related to the performance of
the duties of such members. The law may limit the right to strike of persons
engaged in professions which are directly essential for the protection of
human life and health.