NGO Forum says minority rights have worsened in Slovakia

Protection of minority rights in Slovakia has worsened during the past four years, the Forum NGO, a research institute on minority issues, stated at a news conference on Tuesday, May 4, the SITA newswire reported.

Protection of minority rights in Slovakia has worsened during the past four years, the Forum NGO, a research institute on minority issues, stated at a news conference on Tuesday, May 4, the SITA newswire reported.

The NGO’s programme director and former ambassador, Kálman Petőcz, pointed out that the government frequently mistakes qualitative parameters of minority rights with quantitative ones. “We speak of effectiveness; the government compensates it with the number of minority schools, theatres and so on,” said Petőcz to SITA.

He claims that situation will not change unless politicians stop viewing minority rights as a special category and start seeing it as a part of basic human rights. According to the institute, social detachment has deepened during the government of Robert Fico. The political parties should establish multicultural dialogue no only at the central level but also directly in the regions, were Slovaks and minorities live side by side. The institute also stated that for long-term development of the ethnic communities, Slovakia lacks legislative, institutionalized, and political guarantees.

The Deputy Prime Minister for Knowledge-Based Society, European Affairs, Human Rights and Minorities, Dušan Čaplovič, rejected the evaluation of the state of minority policy presented by Forum. He said it was superficial and demagogic.

“The deputy prime minister emphasises that the task of the government in the area of minority policy is not to row but to steer,” the spokesman for Čaplovič, Michal Kaliňák, said. Čaplovič spokesman mentioned changes in the Cabinet Council for National Minorities and Ethnic Groups after elections in 2006, saying that all minorities have been placed on equal ground.

“The deputy prime minister rejects biased and purpose-built statements authored by people inclined to Hungarian political parties. This is the very reason why he considers this another fact proving that the non-governmental sector is being abused for political goals,” Kaliňák stated.

Source: SITA

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

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