Annual Report: Slovakia 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Slovakia 2013

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SLOVAK REPUBLIC

Head of state Ivan Gašparovič

Head of government Robert Fico (replaced Iveta Radičová)

Discrimination against Roma persisted. The European Court of Human Rights held that a hospital had forcibly sterilized a Romani girl in violation of her human rights. Forced evictions of Roma were reported throughout the country.

Background

In September, the office of the Deputy Prime Minister for Human Rights and National Minorities was disestablished. Responsibility for human rights protection and the prevention of discrimination was entrusted instead to the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Ministry of Interior.

Discrimination – Roma

The government made little progress in eliminating systemic discrimination against Roma. In May, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) criticized Slovakia's failure to take measures to combat discrimination against Roma in education, employment, health and housing.

Right to education

The CESCR concluded that segregation of Romani children in schools continued.

  • Some of the Romani children who had been placed in Roma-only classes in a primary school in Levoča were transferred back to mixed classes. However, the school continued to run Roma-only classes. The segregated classes were established in September 2011 as a result of pressure on the school from non-Roma parents.
  • In October, the Regional Court in Prešov in eastern Slovakia held on appeal that the primary school in the town of Šarišské Michaľany had violated anti-discrimination legislation by placing Romani children in separate classes.

Housing rights

The authorities continued to forcibly evict inhabitants of informal Romani settlements throughout Slovakia and failed to provide access to basic services.

  • In May, local authorities in the town of Vrútky demolished several unauthorized Romani homes built on municipal land. As a result, some people were made homeless. Some of the evicted children were reportedly taken away from their parents by social services and placed in a shelter.
  • On 22 October, the inhabitants of an informal settlement near Prešov were forcibly evicted and forced to demolish their own homes. Beforehand, the mayor had announced the eviction on his Facebook page, and left a message for the Government Plenipotentiary for Roma Communities, asking him to look after “his flock”.
  • An informal Romani settlement of about 150 people in the city of Košice was demolished on 31 October. Reportedly, only four people accepted temporary accommodation. Residents said they had lived in the settlement for up to 12 years. The mayor of the city claimed that the demolition was carried out as a “cleanup of illegal landfill” as the houses of the Roma houses were in fact “constructed of garbage material”.

Enforced sterilization of Romani women

The European Court issued two further judgements in cases of forced sterilizations of Romani girls and women in the early 2000s. It held that sterilizations without full and informed consent amounted to a violation of the women's right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment, as well as a violation of their right to respect for private and family life.

Following the judgements, the NGO Centre for Civil and Human Rights (Poradňa) criticized the government for failing to investigate all the alleged cases of enforced sterilizations and to apologize and offer compensation to all victims.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Slovakia was criticized for forcibly returning people to countries where they risked torture or other ill-treatment.