US Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Sedgwick gave Ombudswoman Jana Dubovcová the Human Rights Defender award April 2. The stance of the embassy is a strong message for the government and its view concerning human rights in Slovakia, the Sme daily wrote.
Key for the selection of the ombudswoman was the fact that despite apparent resistance to her effort, she diligently worked on that the government, parliament and the whole country understood that human rights continue to be breached across Slovakia, the embassy said.
“At a time when we witness dissatisfaction of citizens with political elites and growing support of the ultra right extremism, it is important that people in Slovakia know that the ombudswoman is here for them as uncompromising defender of their rights,” reads an embassy statement. Dubovcová perceives the award as a great encouragement not only for herself but for her whole office.
The former judge highlight last year alleged police violence at a Roma settlement in Moldava nad Bodvou, beating children in the re-education centre in Hlohovec and insufficient access of Roma children to education. The ombudswoman got into a conflict with the ruling Smer party after she started to deal with the police raid in Moldava nad Bodvou. Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák accused her of lies and Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška proposed to resettle her and her office to Košice to be closer to the “inadaptable” people whose problems she wants to deal with. Neither Kaliňák, nor Paška commented on the award for Dubovcová. Last year, MPs for Smer rejected a larger discussion on Dubovcová’s report on the violationg of Roma rights; and in January PM Robert Fico invited her to the cabinet session but did not let her speak.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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3. Apr 2014 at 14:00