Human rights in Slovakia
Human rights in Slovakia are guaranteed by the Constitution of Slovakia from the year 1992 and by multiple international laws signed in Slovakia since 1948 until 2006. In general, international NGOs and foreign institutions do have complaints about human rights in Slovakia, but they tend to be minor in nature or scope. The United States Department of State summarizes the state of affairs in mid-2000s "the government generally respected the human rights of its citizens; however, there were problems in some areas". In general, Slovakia is a developed country with human rights implementation approximately on the average level in the European Union.
Today's Slovakia is a descendant of former Czechoslovakia and is bound by all its former international laws. The current Constitution of Slovakia is from the year 1992, before 1989 Slovakia was totalitarian. Slovakia has abolished the death penalty.
The Romani form a sizeable minority in Slovakia. Although officially counting only 90.000, in reality the number is approximately half million. Of this, 330.000 live in "unfavourable social conditions", a euphemism for being beyond the line of poverty, many of them living in Romani settlements (Slovak: Rómske osady). In the year 2000 there were 620 such settlements in Slovakia, by 2009 their number increased to 691. Here, people live in self-made houses constructed on land they do not own, settlements are often without electricity, waste disposal or sanitary water.
The situation of Romani in Slovakia is an issue where both local and foreign observers consistently agree on the magnitude of the problem as well as its urgency and importance. The key issues being stressed on both sides of the debate seem to differ quite radically, however, an example being various Slovak governmental proposal of taking the Romani children from their homes into boarding schools, which is considered to be one of the best solutions to the education of the local Romani people in Slovakia, an idea that has been severely criticized from abroad.
Issues concerning the Romani minority
- Segregation of the Romani minority
- Forced evictions
- Discrimination during hiring
- High percentage of Roma children ending up in special schools for the mentally handicapped
- High recreational drug use consisting primarily of tobacco, alcohol and toluene
Law enforcement issues
Law enforcement in Slovakia is divided between numerous government agencies and features a wide selection of actual law enforcement units, ranging from "ordinary" Police to Railway Police or Financial Police. Most of these units have wide-ranging authority, having the right to suspend most basic human rights. There were never any purges within these units after the overthrow of the communist regime in 1989 and many working procedures were left intact.
Issues concerning Law enforcement
- Misuse of power in the Slovak police
- Physical abuse of both accused and witnesses
- Casual abuse of selected groups by the police, particularly Romani, prostitutes and recreational drug users
Other known issues
- Forcing the Hungarian minority to speak Slovak through language legislature
- Poor LGBT rights implementation (as an example, the first Bratislava Rainbow Pride on May 22, 2010 ended with several attendees physically assaulted.)
- Drug possession criminalisation (in most cases punishable by a stricter sentence than rape or assault)
- Immigration issues (for example the expulsion of Mustapha Labsi in violation with international law)
- Various loopholes in legislature make Slovakia a target for international arms dealers (making shipments for example from Slovakia to Liberia in 2001, in violation of a U.N. embargo)
- Political surveillance use
- Corruption in the judiciary, lengthy pretrial detention, lengthy trials
- Domestic violence against women and children
National human rights organisations
- Slovak National Centre for Human Rights (Slovak: Slovenské národné stredisko pre ľudské práva) - its aim is to implement and promote a modern human rights protection system in the Slovak Republic. It was established in 1993 under the UN Project (SLO/94/AH/2): Establishment of a National Institute for Protection and Promotion of Human Rights, and under the International Agreement between the Government of the Slovak Republic and the United Nations Organization on Establishing the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights (published in the Collection of Laws under No 29/1995 Coll.). In the period 2004 to 2008 the Centre registered more than 1900 complaints objecting discrimination and over 2000 instigations pointing out to the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in various fields. According to the complainants the equal treatment principle has been violated most often in employment relations and similar legal relations as well as in supply of goods and services.
- Slovak Ombudsman (Slovak: Ombudsman, Verejný ochranca práv) - is an independent body aimed at the protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms of natural persons and legal entities within the scope and in a way stated by law in proceedings before public administration bodies and other public authorities provided their acting, decision making or failure to act is in contrary to legal order. Ombudsman is a foreign word rarely used in Slovak language and the Office of the Ombudsman is virtually unknown in the country.
- Human trafficking in Slovakia
- Internet censorship and surveillance in Slovakia
- LGBT rights in Slovakia
- Life imprisonment in Slovakia
- "Zmluvy podľa predmetu | Medzinárodné zmluvy | Zahraničná politika | Ministerstvo zahraničných vecí a európskych záležitostí Slovenskej republiky". Mzv.sk. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in the Slovak Republic". State.gov. 2007-03-06. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "Košický Lunik IX čaká veľké sťahovanie - Správy - Domáce - Pravda.sk". Spravy.pravda.sk. 2007-03-26. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "Rómske osady sa rozširujú, za desať rokov ich na Slovensku pribudlo 71 - Správy - Domáce - Pravda.sk". Spravy.pravda.sk. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "Stop the forced eviction of Roma in Slovakia | Amnesty International". Amnesty.org. 2010-06-17. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "Policajti zbili muža pri výsluchu". tvnoviny.sk. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "JURIST - Slovakia: Slovak Law, Legal Research, Human Rights". Jurist.law.pitt.edu. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "SNSĽP - Slovenské národné stredisko pre ľudské práva". Snslp.sk. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- Amnesty International: Slovakia news
- Human Rights Watch: Slovakia news
- Slovak National Centre for Human Rights homepage
- Slovak Ombudsman homepage
- (Slovak) Amnesty International Slovensko