Equality Bodies

Combating racial discrimination and intolerance in the Slovak Republic

In co-operation with the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights (SNCHR), the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) organised a round table in Bratislava on 28 September 2017 to discuss the follow-up to the recommendations of its 2014 report on Slovakia and its 2017 Conclusions.

The round table aimed to contribute to the national debate on combating racial discrimination and intolerance in Slovakia, as well as to raise awareness among the general public about these issues. The event brought together authorities, academics, representatives of the judiciary and the law enforcement, international organisations and NGOs, as well as members of vulnerable groups of concern to ECRI. The round table was divided into the following three sessions:

  • ECRI’s Report on the Slovak Republic;
  • Legislative and institutional framework for combating Racism and Racial Discrimination;
  • Combating Hate Speech.

The event was opened by Christian Ahlund, ECRI’s chair, Lucia Žitňanská, Minister of Justice of the Slovak Republic and Katarína Szabová, Executive Director of the SNCHR. ECRI rapporteurs Ülle Madise and Barbara John presented the report on Slovakia. Representatives of ECRI, ENNHRI and Equinet participated in the discussion on legislative and institutional frameworks. Equinet was represented by our Executive Board member, Petr Polak, Head of the Division of Equal Treatment at the Public Defender of Rights, Czech Republic who presented Equinet’s work on standards for equality bodies. Christian Ahlund and Katarína Szabová closed the event.

In its 2014 report, ECRI expressed concern about a number of issues, such as loopholes in the criminal law legislation regarding racist motivation, challenges with application of the Anti-discrimination Act in practice, effective functioning of the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights, anti-“minorities” rhetoric and offensive discourse targeting sexual orientation among politicians, hate speech on the Internet and in the traditional media, as well as failures in the implementation of the Roma integration programme.

ECRI recommended to adopt legislative changes to tackle racism and racial discrimination, to reform SNCHR, to introduce mechanism for collecting joint data on hate speech incidents, to adopt legislation banning political parties openly hostile to human rights, to ratify the Additional Protocol the Convention on Cybercrime. ECRI also encouraged the media to ensure better compliance with their ethical standards.

For more, including the agenda and the report, see Petr Polak (Czech Public Defender of Rights), Katarína Szabová (Slovak National Centre for Human Rights), Christian Ahlund (ECRI)

Petr Polak (Czech Public Defender of Rights), Katarína Szabová (Slovak National Centre for Human Rights), Christian Ahlund (ECRI)

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