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ECRI criticises government’s approach towards Dubovcová

THE EUROPEAN Commission against Racism and Intolerance published its fifth report on Slovakia on September 16, which states that Slovak Ombudswoman Jana Dubovcová has taken a proactive role in the area of anti-discrimination. The report covers the period from December 2008 up to March 20, 2014.

THE EUROPEAN Commission against Racism and Intolerance published its fifth report on Slovakia on September 16, which states that Slovak Ombudswoman Jana Dubovcová has taken a proactive role in the area of anti-discrimination. The report covers the period from December 2008 up to March 20, 2014.

The ECRI’s Chair, Christian Ahlund, noted some positive steps, but also a number of outstanding issues, such as problems in the application of the anti-discrimination law and the slow implementation of Roma integration programmes, the ECRI’s statement reads.

“Anti-minority rhetoric and offensive discourse targeting sexual orientation are common among politicians, and hate speech is recurrent on the internet and in part of the traditional media,” says the ECRI’s report, adding that “the leader of a far-right party was elected as a regional governor.”

On a positive note, crime based on sexual orientation has became an aggravating circumstance and a criminal offence, and positive measures to compensate disadvantages linked to race and ethnicity are expressly allowed by the law, according to ECRI.

Moreover, there are positive examples of countering racism and stereotyping through sports, so-called municipal firms are facilitating the active involvement of Roma at the local level and the ombudswoman has taken a proactive role in the area of anti-discrimination.

The ECRI pointed out that in her first annual report presented to parliament in 2013, Dubovcová commented on Roma issues and human rights violations. Moreover, in August
2013 the ombudswoman published a special report on the on-going existence of Roma-only classes in Slovak schools, cases of misconduct by the police and evictions of residents in eastern Slovakia. Additionally, the report contained a number of recommendations addressed to parliament.

“The ECRI regrets that the report was not discussed by the parliament,” the ECRI’s report reads.

Dubovcová learned about the ECRI’s report and agrees with its proposals, particularly with a proposal to create an independent body for the investigation of police work, according to Ombudswoman spokesperson Ján Glovičko.

“The ombudswoman is sorry that Slovakia sends such negative signals regarding human rights and protection of freedoms abroad,” Glovičko said, as quoted by the SITA newswire, adding that she “believes that they will not be repeated again”.

(Source: SITA, ECRI’s report and press release)

Compiled by Roman Cuprik from press reports
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