Experts: Vatican Treaty a threat to freedom

THE CONSCIENTIOUS objectors' treaty that Slovakia is set to sign with the Vatican might clash with the EU's principles of freedom, democracy and respect for human rights, a group of independent legal experts established by the EU has concluded.

The EU asked the group for their view of the treaty after it caused a dispute in the European Parliament, reported the SME daily. At the beginning of last summer, MEPs from their parliament's committee for civic freedoms sent a letter to Slovak Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda expressing concern that the treaty might discriminate against non-believers.

Under the terms of the treaty, medical and educational professionals, among others, would be allowed to refuse to perform a professional task if it violated their religious beliefs.

The experts said that the treaty posed the greatest threat to abortion. Because in Slovakia around 70 percent of people claim to be Catholic, they argued, there is "a risk that the rights of conscientious objectors in the area of reproductive health
could make abortions and related advisory services inaccessible for women,
especially in rural areas".

Slovak Justice Minister Daniel Lipšic, however, said that the duty of medical "conscientious objectors" to inform women of other doctors who carry out abortions
could be defined in a separate law, and that it was unnecessary to incorporate this
clause directly into the Vatican Treaty.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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