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Discussions highlight prejudices

EXCESSIVE bureaucracy concerning the legal status of foreigners who have relocated to Slovakia or the Czech Republic is often caused by prejudice, Pavel Čižinský, a Czech lawyer with the Advisory Service for Citizenship, Citizens’ and Human Rights NGO said in a discussion during the [fjúžn] festival. The discussion was called “And What Have You Done for Foreigners Today?”.

EXCESSIVE bureaucracy concerning the legal status of foreigners who have relocated to Slovakia or the Czech Republic is often caused by prejudice, Pavel Čižinský, a Czech lawyer with the Advisory Service for Citizenship, Citizens’ and Human Rights NGO said in a discussion during the [fjúžn] festival. The discussion was called “And What Have You Done for Foreigners Today?”.

Čižinský along with other panel members Zuzana Bargerová from the Human Rights League, Lucia Kureková of the Slovak Governance Institute and Milan Tvorík, former chief of the Office of the Border and Alien Police, focused on Slovak legislation and prejudices related to migrants as well as bureaucratic burden migrants face here.

“It is confirmed that many times when they [foreigners] get a scholarship from the Slovak government they need one of the three months they are allotted to stay to take care of their documentation,” Kureková said, adding that sometimes they have to travel back to their homeland to get all the necessary documents.

Kureková said she has participated in several projects investigating options for highly qualified immigrants or students to come to Slovakia as well as the bureaucracy they face here.

The phenomenon of prejudice resonated strongly during another [fjúžn] debate called “Islam and Democracy” with former diplomat and novelist Emíre Khidayer, Slovak political scientist Jozef Lenč and Slovak Afghani Azim Farhadi as hosts.

The discussion opened up important questions about differences between the cultures as well as the role of religious prejudice in their dealings.

“I do not agree with the opinion, that religion is dangerous,” Lenč said adding that it is not religion which serves as a reason to hate, “but people always find a reason to do so”.

Farhadi pointed out that the Slovak media contributes to misconceptions about Muslims as it sometimes depicts all Islam through the negative actions of a few Muslims.


This page was prepared by Tímea Becková, Roman Cuprik, Michaela Džomeková, Miroslava Germanová, Kristína Hamárová, Karolína Kučerová, Radka Minarechová, Martina Raábová, Lenka Sabová, Natália Semianová and Carmen Virágová. The authors are all participating in the Reporting Diversity programme, which is aimed at training young journalists to report on diversity and minorities within Slovak society. The programme is prepared by The Slovak Spectator in cooperation with Comenius University's School of Journalism and is supported by the US Embassy in Bratislava.

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