Commitments were made to eliminate segregation in education on grounds of ethnic origin, but Roma continued to face discrimination in education, housing and health care. Slovakia ignored rulings from the European Court of Human Rights and returned an asylum-seeker to Algeria.
A new centre-right coalition government came to power in July. The government programme adopted in August included the commitment to implement measures to eliminate segregation in education on the basis of ethnic origin.Top of page
Discrimination against Roma continued at several levels. The Ministry of the Interior reportedly announced that it had started working on a system of collection of data on crimes committed by people living in Romani settlements. In September, the Minister stated that “municipalities in the proximity of segregated settlements belong to areas with higher criminality”.
In October, the Regional Court in Košice ruled that Roma were discriminated against on the ground of their ethnic origin when they were prevented from entering one of the cafés in the town of Michalovce; it was one of the first rulings of this kind. However, the Court refused to grant any compensation to the victims.
The CERD Committee published its concluding observations on Slovakia in March. It reiterated its concerns about the de facto segregation of Romani children in education. The Committee urged Slovakia to end and prevent such discrimination and to take into account its close link to discrimination in housing and employment.
In August, the new government acknowledged the existence of ethnic segregation in education as a systemic problem. However, in September the Ministry of Education denied that segregation of Romani children was a serious issue, and alleged there had been only a few complaints against this form of discrimination.
Several municipalities either adopted a decision to build or started building walls to separate the areas where Roma live from the non-Roma parts of towns or villages.
In March, the CERD Committee urged the authorities to establish clear guidelines to ensure patients are fully informed before giving consent to sterilization and to ensure that practitioners, as well as Romani women, are familiar with such guidelines. Five cases involving allegations of enforced sterilizations of Romani women were pending before the European Court of Human Rights. In two cases, the Court declared the case applications admissible.Top of page
The authorities returned an individual to a country where he might have been at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
The government agreed to accept three men formerly held in US custody at Guantánamo Bay, and they were transferred to Slovakia on 5 January. The three were detained at Medveďov centre for illegal migrants on their arrival. In June and July they went on hunger strike to protest against their detention and poor living conditions. In July, the government issued the three men with residence permits valid for five years.Top of page
According to the Slovak Family Planning Association, the top management of hospitals often abused the right of conscientious objection in relation to abortion. As a result, it was alleged that only one of the five public hospitals in Bratislava carried out abortions because of the decisions of the hospital management. Despite recommendations by the CEDAW Committee in 2008, the authorities had not issued regulations on invoking conscientious objection as grounds for refusal to perform certain health procedures.Top of page
The organizers of Bratislava Pride had to change the route of the first LGBT Pride march on 22 May after the police announced that they would not be able to protect the participants from attacks by counter-demonstrators. The march was reportedly marked by violence and intimidation due to the failure of authorities to ensure adequate security. According to the organizers, at least two men who were carrying the rainbow flag were injured by counter-demonstrators before the rally started.Top of page