AS SLOVAKIA prepares to join the European Union in May 2004, there has been pressure by women and human rights organisations on country leaders to harmonize Slovak legislation and practices with EU anti-discrimination requirements.
Women in Slovakia, with help of European pressure groups, have been campaigning for places in positions of power in the spheres of politics, human rights, and to secure fundamental freedoms and the prohibition of discrimination on any grounds.
Late November, non-governmental organizations and the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, and Family organized a seminar to wind up a one-year project called Ready for EU integration that promoted gender equality and non-discrimination.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights, Nationalities, and the Status of Women, László Nagy, reported that earlier this year a Commission for Equal Opportunities and the Status of Women has been established. Nagy explained that the committee is ready for intense lobbying to have measures on non-discrimination included in the agendas of state bodies.
Nagy also said the parliament was prepared for changes that will address social imbalances and he expects that parliament to adopt an anti-discrimination bill.
Dutch Ambassador to Slovakia Lauret Stokvis acknowledged that an effort has been made to move towards social transformation. However, he said he regretted that the parliament has not yet adopted an anti-discrimination legislation.
"Societal transformation is more than just passing a law, it's a process with difficulties, and results are measured by solutions to these difficulties," said Stokvis.
Marni Pigott, a representative of KIT, a Dutch NGO that was part of the project, told The Slovak Spectator that there was need for an information campaign to expose the public to critical issues concerning gender equality and a need to combat discrimination in Slovakia.
Slovakia is a signatory of protocol no 12 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, prohibiting discrimination on any grounds.
8. Dec 2003 at 0:00 | Killian Mabena