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Application of Legislation, Criminal Cases, Court Rulings

Application of Legislation, Criminal Cases, Court Rulings Constitutional Coart of Slovakia

Slovakia established a National Human Rights Centre in 1994, which provides legal advice in cases related to discrimination and intolerance.The centre also published annual reports on human rights in Slovakia” Regional offices of the centre are located in Banska Bystrica, Kosice and Zilina.

Slovakia has a special Government Commissioner for Roma Communities, as well as the State Council for Human Rights, National Minorities and Gender Equality. There is also an LGBT Rights Committee and Committee for Preventing and Eliminating Racism, Xenophobia, Anti-Semitism and Other Forms of Intolerance.

In 2014, the Council ordered Trhova Gradska municipality to provide bilingual birth certificates”.

In 2012, Slovakia adopted a Roma Integration Programme, which aims to eliminate Roma segregation and combat discrimination against them”.

In 2008, Slovakia adopted a support plan for disadvantaged communities. In 2012, the programme was stopped due to lack of funds, but resumed in 2014.”

Regions across Slovakia introduced the position of special prosecutor to deal with cases of extremism. Corresponding police departments have also been established”.

State TV channel RTVS sacked Kristina Kormutova for anti-Roma posts on Facebook.

D. Rusnak resigned from his position as head of the Presidential Office after his xenophobic remarks (see below).

On the other hand, there is evidence to believe that the struggle against xenophobia is not sufficiently implemented in practice. Roma integration programmes are not executed due to lack of will and mismanagement on the state level. Roma Rights Commissioner does not have the authority to allocate appropriate funds, instead this is done through the Interior Ministry. Very often, integration measures are a sham. ECRI reports that out of 400 teachers assistants who were supposed to liaise with Roma students most do not speak their native language.

The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) criticised six European countries, including the Czech Republic and Slovakia, for “restraint” in combatting racism towards Roma and reluctance to increase their living conditions. ERTF’s 2014 Annual Report, published on October 10, reads, “The situation of the Roma today is no better than 40 years ago.” The organisation notes that a number of crucial recommendations regarding, for example, the living conditions of the Roma minority, have yet to be implemented.

On October 23, 2014, Milan Šimečka Fund published a report on Roma in Social Politics 2014” The study was based on the monitoring of events related to the Roma community, expert assessment and surveys. 41 respondents were to rate 10 statements on a 5-point scale. In general, government activities in resolving the so-called “Roma issue” were rated 3.54 points, i.e. slightly better compared to 2013 (3.62). Most successful measure implemented by Robert Fico’s cabinet was the publication of the Atlas of Roma communities (2.08) and the adoption of a healthcare programme for Roma (2.16). Intervention in the attacks on Roma in Moldava nad Bodvou on June 19, 2013, and in the activities of Ombudsman Jana Dubovcova were rated as least successful (4.85). Furthermore, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Justice and General Prosecution are responsible for gathering information on hate crime. However, data is spread across various categories and groups, which makes it difficult to analyse.

Non-governmental organisations that appeal to courts on behalf of victims often face difficulties in receiving fees for legal work. It is also worth noting that authorities and state human rights commissioners are often reluctant to react to homophobic remarks made by politicians.

On October 30, 2014, Commissioner for Human Rights in Slovakia Jana Dubovcova met with representatives of the CoE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. She said that the case regarding police officers who attacked Roma people in Moldava nad Bodvou in June 2013 is tacking a bad turn, where the victims can become the accused. In this context, Commissioner noted that Slovakia has yet to establish an independent investigative body that would monitor police compliance with the law.

On October 20, 2014, Bratislava District Court sentenced neo-Nazis who attacked patrons of Mariatchi bar in Nitra (October 2013). Tomas Spishak struck a deal with the prosecution and pleaded guilty, admitting that he struck a helpless man who was lying of the ground. He was sentenced to a fine of 400 euros for hooliganism, and ordered to cover victim’s medical expenses.

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