AI criticises Slovakia for Roma and migrants

SLOVAKIA failed in human rights protection last year, particularly by discriminating against Roma and its approach to refugees.

A man from Roma settlement Vrbnica shows his bruises allegedly caused by police. A man from Roma settlement Vrbnica shows his bruises allegedly caused by police. (Source: TASR)

This stems from the 2015 report on human rights protection published by Amnesty International (AI) on February 24.

“Our country fails not only in its inadequate approach to refugees, but also in investigating inappropriate use of police power,” Lucia Bernátová of Amnesty International Slovakia (AIS) told the press, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that the latter problem is the most visible during police raids in Roma settlements.

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In this respect, Bernátová reminded of last year’s police action in Vrbnica (Košice Region), which resulted in 19 people being injured, damage to several houses and traumatising of children who witnessed the raid. The police did not explain the reasons for the raid and used inappropriate power there, she added.

Read also: Ombudswoman: Police used unnecessary violence Read more 

Moreover, Bernátová also pointed to the 2013 police raid in Roma settlement in Moldava nad Bodvou (Košice Region). The prosecutor has halted the investigation of the incident in several points, including the accusation of causing bodily harm. The AIS questions the independence of the police inspectorate.

Read also: Investigation found no torture in infamous police raid Read more 

Another problem highlighted in the report is segregation of Roma children and their excessive placement to special schools. Though the parliament adopted an amendment to the Education Act, the change will not prevent discrimination, Bernátová said, as reported by the SITA newswire.

Regarding refugees, Bernátová pointed to the practice of drawing links between them and terrorist threats. Following the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, Slovakia adopted the so-called anti-terrorist package. The AIS, however, considers it problematic.

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“The measures significantly interfere with human rights and liberties,” Bernátová said, as quoted by TASR.

Read also: Anti-terrorism laws sail through parliament Read more 

The AIS is concerned especially with longer detention of people suspected or accused of terrorism and broader powers of police. The organisation also criticised Slovakia’s response to the New Year’s incident in Cologne. Instead of calming down the situation, the government incited hatred and discrimination against the Muslim community, Bernátová told the press.

The whole community should not be accused of crimes of individuals, she added, as reported by TASR.

Read also: Fico will not be prosecuted for anti-Muslim statements Read more 

 

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