THE CENTRE for the Research of Ethnicity and Culture (CVEK) has launched a petition to support Ombudswoman Jana Dubovcová who was prevented from speaking about her findings over the violent police raid in Moldava nad Bodvou dating from June 2013. Though she was invited to the January 8 government session, she was not allowed to speak and was reportedly lectured by Prime Minister Robert Fico.

Meanwhile, the Roma Initiative of Slovakia (RIS) called on Dubovcová to stop wasting her time with the alleged violation of laws in Moldava nad Bodvou. The initiative believes that the police officers were only defending themselves from attacks by Roma who attacked them with stones and sticks, the SITA newswire reported on January 9.

“Not listening to ombudswoman in the parliament and the government is a sign of arrogance characteristic for undemocratic regimes,” reads the text of CVEK, as quoted by SITA.

According to the NGO, this step of the government is one of the signs of restricting human rights in Slovakia. CVEK also reminded that “the core of the human rights is also the protection from arbitrariness of state bodies”. Laco Oravec from Milan Šimečka Foundation and Amnesty International Slovensko spokeswoman Jana Vargovčíková criticised the government’s behaviour toward Dubovcová, the Sme daily wrote.

Dubovcová came to the government session to present her disagreement with the opinion of the Interior Ministry regarding the police operation in Moldava nad Bodvou, when 63 police officers raided the local Roma settlement, purportedly seeking men for which they had arrest warrant. They found none of those men, but violence ensued and 15 other Roma were taken to the police station.

Fico said that Dubovcová did not follow the law on public defender of rights, explaining she should not have turned to the government at all. Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák added that she should have addressed the regional police headquarters in Košice. He also claims that all of her accusations are based on false testimonies, as reported by SITA.

Dubovcová responded, as quoted by SITA, that with the attitude of the cabinet, her office can be downgraded to a paper tiger. She also explained that she had turned to the government as she believes that the Interior Ministry failed to comply with its legal obligation and did not inform her of the measures it has taken.

“It is stability when one party takes control over nearly the whole state, other opinions do not interest it, it does not permit discussion, diminishes the problems through strong words and personal attacks,” presidential candidate, philanthropist Andrej Kiska said, as quoted by SITA.

The opposition Most-Híd party also expressed its concern about arrogant and inexcusable attitude of the government to work and initiative of public defender of rights. The party does not accept the disrespect to her and her office as is signalises disrespect to human rights, reads the statement of the party, as reported by SITA.

The party called on Fico and Kaliňák to apologise to Dubovcová and allow her to perform her job as it is defined in the law.

Source: SITA

For more information about this story please see: Cabinet refuses to hear ombudswoman’s statement on Roma village raid

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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