The Czech Republic is accused of “systematic” rights violations in their treatment of refugees and migrants.
According to the UN’s human rights chief, Czech authorities were holding refugees in “degrading” conditions for up to 90 days.
Zeid Raad Al Hussein said refugees had been strip-searched to find money to pay for their detention, and protested about “Islamophobic” statements by Czech President Milos Zeman.
Milos Zeman’s spokesman said the president “stood by his opinions”.
While other European countries had implemented policies to restrict the movement of refugees, the Czech Republic was “unique” in its routine detention of migrants for long periods, Zeid Raad Al Hussein said in a statement.
He said the measures taken appeared to be “designed to deter migrants and refugees from entering the country or staying there”.
Zeid Raad Al Hussein said one detention facility in Beza-Jezova has been described as “worse than a prison” by the Czech justice minister.
The UN rights chief added that he was alarmed by the “xenophobic public discourse” accompanying Czech government policy.
Milos Zeman frequently courts controversy with Islamophobic remarks.
While visiting a butcher shop on a recent visit to southeast Moravia, Milos Zeman told reporters that Muslim refugees would not respect Czech laws and customs.
Milos Zeman said that on the contrary, they would stone women to death for adultery and cut thieves’ hands off.
The president’s spokesman said the UN’s criticism of Milos Zeman was part of an intensifying campaign against the Czech Republic over its stand on the refugee crisis.
The US ambassador to Czech Republic, Andrew Schapiro, has been barred from Prague Castle, President Milos Zeman says.
Prague Castle is the president’s official residence and office.
The apparent snub follows remarks by Andrew Schapiro seen as critical of Milos Zeman’s decision to attend forthcoming World War Two commemorations in Moscow.
Several world leaders are boycotting the ceremony over Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict.
Milos Zeman is considered more sympathetic to Russia on the issue.
Andrew Schapiro had “overstepped the mark” by criticizing the decision to attend celebrations in May marking the anniversary of the end of WW2, news portal Parlamentni Listy quotes President Milos Zeman as saying.
Because of this “the doors of the castle were closed” to Andrew Schapiro, Milos Zeman continues.
“I cannot imagine that the Czech ambassador in Washington would advise the US president where he should travel. And I will not allow any ambassador to have a say in my foreign travel plans.”
Milos Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek later sought to downplay the president’s comments, saying that Andrew Schapiro could still take part in social events at the Castle.
Andrew Schapiro is quoted by Czech media as having said in March that it would “be awkward” if Milos Zeman was the only statesman from an EU country on the platform on Red Square.
The US embassy has declined to address Milos Zeman’s comments.
Milos Zeman is known for his outspoken views on a range of issues, often at variance with those of the Social Democrat-led government, correspondents say.
The presidency is largely ceremonial in Czech Republic, but Milos Zeman became the first man directly elected to the post when he took office in 2013.
Deadly flood waters continue to rise across central Europe and thousands of people have alredy fled their homes in the region.
Emergency operations are under way in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic to cope with river levels which have reached record heights in some places.
Landslides and flooding have led to the deaths of at least seven people. More than eight others are missing.
The German army has been drafted in to help reinforce flood defenses in the south and east of the country.
In the Czech Republic, a nationwide state of emergency is in force. Around 3,000 people have been forced to leave their homes across the west of the country.
The authorities in the capital, Prague, are on high alert amid fears that the River Vltava could swamp its historic centre. On Monday morning, the river was flowing at 2,800 cubic metres per second – 10 times its normal volume.
Thousands of people flee their homes as central Europe flood waters rise
As a precaution the city’s metro system has been closed, metal flood defenses are being erected and sandbags built up along the banks of the Vltava.
No major evacuations are planned in Prague, but tigers at the city’s zoo have been tranquilized and moved out of an enclosure thought to be at risk of flooding.
“The story is not yet over here,” warned Environment Minister Tomas Chalupa.
Although the Vltava was expected to rise again on Tuesday morning, officials said it was unlikely to reach the levels seen in 2002, the last time Europe saw similar floods.
Seventeen people were killed in the Czech Republic and the cost of the damage across the continent was estimated at 20 billion euros ($26 billion).
The destruction so far seen in the capital has been relatively minor compared to elsewhere. In southern and western areas of the country, several towns and villages are under water.
Main roads in many areas of central Europe have been closed and rail services cut. Thousands of homes are without power.
Czech police said on Monday that at least five people were now known to have died due to the flooding. Two people died after their cottage collapsed on Sunday, and three people had died in separate incidents across Bohemia. Several people are missing.
Alexandra Kinova has given birth to quintuplets in the Czech Republic, officials say, a first for the country.
Alexandra Kinova, 23, had four boys and a girl by caesarean section on Sunday, they say.
The births took place “without any complications”, according to doctors at Prague’s Institute for the Care of Mother and Child.
The mother and babies were placed in an intensive care unit but are believed to be in a good condition.
Alexandra Kinova has given birth to quintuplets in the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic’s first quintuplets, who were conceived naturally without IVF, have a 95% chance of growing up healthy, the Associated Press quoted Zbynek Stranak, chief doctor at the neonatal section of the institute, as saying.
The boys’ names are reportedly Deniel, Michael, Alex and Martin, while the girl is called Terezka.
Alexandra Kinova, who is from the town of Milovice, about 12 miles north-east of the capital, Prague, already had one son.
She originally believed she was pregnant with twins, but in March doctors upped it to four – and then five in April.
The father of the quintuplets was present at the delivery despite his train being delayed, according to the newspaper Ceske Noviny.
“I was crying all the way since I feared I would not manage it,” he said.