DESPITE improvement in some areas Slovakia is still quite slow in improving its human rights situation, international human rights group Amnesty International (AI) stated in its Annual Report 2008, published on May 28. With respect to Slovakia, the report focuses on discrimination against Roma people, torture and other inhuman treatment, and the war against terrorism.
The AI stated that even though the Slovak government has passed a law on improving the living and educational standards of the Roma, and has banned discrimination in the new School Act, the law did not define segregation and did not determine responsibility for enforcing the ban, the TASR newswire reported.
“Despite the attempts to improve, discrimination against the Roma in Slovakia is an everyday reality and in many schools segregation remains,” the report reads.
AI welcomed a decision by the Regional Court in Banská Bystrica, which sentenced seven policemen in the case of the death of a Roma man, Karol Sendrei.
However, the halting of the investigation into a case involving the sterilisation of three Roma women is seen as a step backwards, TASR reported.
“Every step forward in the area of human rights in Slovakia is almost always followed by a step backwards and Slovakia thus loses its chance for a real improvement,” Branislav Tichý, head of AI in Slovakia said, as quoted by TASR.
Deputy Prime Minster for Minorities and Human Rights Dušan Čaplovič rejected Tichý’s statement. There are human rights inequities still in Slovakia but things, overall, are looking up, Čaplovič said in response to the report.
“There are certain problems in this area,” Čaplovič told TASR. “However, those countries assessing us – except for some – claim that Slovakia has moved forward step by step, and there are not so many human rights scandals as in the past.”