Slovakia placed 31st on a list of 49 countries most tolerant towards the rights of homosexuals. This come from the Rainbow Europe Index used by the ILGA-Europe association to rank the laws and policies concerning the lives of LGBTI people in European countries.
Slovakia earned 28 of 100 points and raised its position from last year by one place, the SITA newswire reported.
The most tolerant country was Malta, with 88 points, which had also topped the ranking last year. Second and third place went to Norway and the United Kingdom. The least tolerant countries are Azerbaijan, with five points, and Russia, with six.
Slovakia placed in the second third of the ranking, as did Georgia, Bulgaria, Romania and Italy. Of the Visegrad Group (V4) countries, the most tolerant was Hungary (19th place), followed by the Czech Republic (29th place). Poland placed 37th on the list, SITA reported.
One of the reasons cited for Slovakia’s poor evaluation was the lack of political momentum on LGBTI equality issues following the 2016 parliamentary elections.
Various human rights NGOs and LGBTI activists repeatedly spoke out against the lack of references to protections for LGBTI people in programmes released by the newly-elected government of Robert Fico, and the continued absence of legal recognition for same-sex couples had been emphasised, the report said.
Significant gaps remain in the areas of legal gender recognition and protection from bias-motivated crimes concerning gender identity. ILGA-Europe did recognize that the return of the Rainbow Pride march to the streets of Bratislava after a year’s absence was a positive development in the country.
The Slovak National Centre for Human Rights, which was informed of the ranking, encourages the country to raise awareness and support for LGBTI people. The centre stressed the need for effective approaches to utilising public services and responses to reports of discrimination and hate-motivated violence, as well as analyses of reasons that these crimes might go unreported, SITA wrote.