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Ombudsman condemns police action against Roma children

Slovakia's Ombudsman Pavel Kandráč condemns any form of violence and humiliating behaviour as these are unacceptable, particularly if they are aimed against children, the Ombudsman's office informed the SITA newswire.

Slovakia's Ombudsman Pavel Kandráč condemns any form of violence and humiliating behaviour as these are unacceptable, particularly if they are aimed against children, the Ombudsman's office informed the SITA newswire.

Kandráč was reacting to a video recording published by the daily Sme showing Košice policemen forcing six Roma boys to strip and slap each other’s faces. Because this case involves children, who are regarded as among the most vulnerable group of citizens, the Ombudsman has requested an in-depth investigation of the case. If allegations are confirmed, he has asked for strict punishment. He added that the alleged actions are a flagrant breach of the UN Convention on Rights of the Child as well as of Slovakia's laws.

The Ombudsman also called for adoption of measures that would prevent similar events from happening in the future. He asked for stricter criteria being applied in selecting members of Slovakia's Police Corps and that police are educated on human rights during the whole of their service, according to SITA.

On Tuesday, April 7, the daily Sme received an e-mail containing videos showing policemen in Košice torturing six Roma boys. The daily released the videos on its website and provided them to the police. On that afternoon, Police President Ján Packa confirmed the authenticity of the recordings. The incident took place at a Košice police station on March 21.

According to Packa, the boys were detained after they attacked a 66 year-old woman, stole her purse and beat her. The police president said the police involved would be fired. Coincidentally, April 8 is the International Day of the Roma. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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