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Discriminatory Practices Against Minorities

Discriminatory Practices Against Minorities Over 200'000 Slovak Gypsies live in settlements without access to the basic benifits of Civilization.

Roma is the most vulnerable group in terms of discrimination (2.3% of the population). More than 200 000 Roma live in ghetto-like settlements with no access to basic utilities.

14 Slovak cities had erected walls around Roma settlements in 2008-2013, separating them from the rest of the community” 150 Roma settlements have no access to running water, 370 settlements only have partial access. 38% of Roma suffer as a result of having to obtain water from contaminated wells or neighbouring settlements. 65 settlements have no access to power. Roma women were often forcibly sterilised.

Roma people also face discrimination on the labour market. Study conducted in July-September 2014 showed that employers prefer pass over Roma, despite having all relevant qualifications. 40% of employers responded to Slovak applications, while only 17% responded to Roma. 23% of Roma face discrimination in employment or at work” As a result, only 15%-17% have work, while unemployment among the rest of the population is 11%.

Despite Presevo Court decision in 2012, prohibiting segregation of Roma in education, the problem remained acute in 2014” Many Roma children are forced to study in special schools for the mentally challenged” Their proportion in such schools is much higher than general population. Surveys in 2014 indicated that the cause of this was misdiagnosis, as exams were given in non-native language for Roma.

In Kežmarok region of Slovakia, Roma children are taught in separate schools, isolating them from the rest of society” As a result, 20% of Roma do not get secondary education (compared to 1% of Slovaks). 40% of Roma do not finish primary education and only 0.3% have higher education.

On July 9, 2014, Parliament also rejected the amendments to four laws as part of a “Small Roma Reform”. The initiative was blocked by the majority from the Path – Social Democracy party” The greatest criticism revolved around the claim that the proposed measures will encourage the Roma to employment and social inclusion. The fourth failure of the reform indicates that the ruling party does not trust the Roma Affairs Ombudsman P. Pollak.

Hungarian minority is also facing problems in Slovakia (10% of the population). This group is only represented at the rural community level. To avoid establishment of a Hungarian region, territories populated by ethnic Hungarians are divided between several Slovak regions. Hungarian language is not used in many communities where Hungarian population is significant. This is despite Slovakia’s accession to several Conventions that prohibit such practices.

On July 1, National Council of Slovakia rejected the amendments to the Law on State Language, which were proposed by MP Peter Osuski (Freedom and Solidarity Party)” In particular, the amendments suggested the abolition of penalties for violation of the law, increasing the use of minority languages in local topography and toponymy, expanding the rights of social, religious and educational organisations in the definition of the language of communication” The law was supported by 28 MPs.

Xenophobic sentiments sometimes cause conflicts. For example, the city of Dunajska Streda refused to provide bilingual birth certificate, referring to Interior Ministry’s resolution stating that such document can only be issued in Slovak” On September 16, it was reported that a man in Sturovo (town bordering Hungary) was refused a train ticket when he spoke Hungarian language.

On June 2, after meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister V. Orban, Slovak MEP Pal Caki (Party of Hungarian Coalition) reported that they discussed changing the administrative division of Slovakia and organising a “Komarno Krai”, because Slovak Hungarians are threatened by assimilation” LGBT discrimination is also a common issue. Fundamental Rights Association reports that 24% of Slovaks faced some form of hate (EU average - 19%). Only 2% said that they reported these incidents to the authorities (EU average – 4%). 19% LGBT members said that they feel discriminated due to their sexual orientation. “Transexuality” in Slovakia is considered a psychological illness, which discriminates against transgender people.

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