10 December 2004

Original: ENGLISH
Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination : Slovakia. 12/10/2004.
CERD/C/65/CO/7. (Concluding Observations/Comments)

Convention Abbreviation: CERD
Sixty-fifth session
2 - 20 August 2004
Concluding observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination

1. The Committee considered the fourth and fifth periodic reports of Slovakia, submitted in one document (CERD/C/419/Add.2), at its 1654th and 1655th meetings (CERD/C/SR.1654 and 1655), held on 9 and 10 August 2004. At its 1668th meeting (CERD/C/SR.1668), held on 18 August 2004, it adopted the following concluding observations.

A. Introduction

2. The Committee welcomes the reports submitted by the State party in conformity with the reporting guidelines as well as the additional oral and written information provided by the delegation. The Committee is encouraged by the attendance of a large and well-qualified delegation and expresses its appreciation for the very constructive and frank responses provided to the questions asked.

B. Positive aspects

3. The Committee notes with appreciation that the Hungarian minority - the largest national minority in Slovakia - is well integrated in mainstream society and that it is adequately represented, including among high-level civil servants and politicians.
4. The Committee also welcomes: (b) The entry into force of the Anti-Discrimination Law on 1 July 2004;

(i) The Action Plan for the Prevention of All Forms of Discrimination, Racism, Xenophobia, Anti-Semitism and Other Expressions of Intolerance for the Period 2002-2003 and 2004-2005;
(ii) Resolution No. 278 of 23 April 2003 on the “Assessment of the 2002 Priorities of the Government of the Slovak Republic relating to Roma Communities, the 2001 Strategy of the Government of the Slovak Republic for Addressing Roma Community Issues and the Basic Theses of the Government of the Slovak Republic Policy Concept for the Integration of Roma Communities”.

C. Concerns and recommendations

5. While the Committee notes with appreciation the continuous efforts undertaken to combat racial discrimination and related violence, including the setting up of a commission to deal with racially motivated violence and of the Racism and Xenophobia Monitoring Centre, it remains concerned about the occurrence of racially motivated crimes and incidents in the country. 6. The Committee shares the delegation’s concern that discriminatory attitudes and feelings of hostility towards members of the Roma community are deep-rooted and widespread throughout the country. 7. While the Committee notes with satisfaction the efforts of the State party in respect of the training of law enforcement officials, it expresses concern about allegations of discriminatory behaviour by the police towards members of minority groups, in particular Roma, including acts of ill-treatment and violence. 8. While the Committee welcomes the extensive measures adopted by the State party in the field of education aimed at improving the situation of Roma children, including the “Roma assistants” project, it continues to express concern at de facto segregation of Roma children in special schools, including special remedial classes for mentally disabled children. 9. While the Committee recognizes the efforts made in the field of employment - including the recent adoption of the amended Labour Code, which prohibits discrimination in its section 13 - it is alarmed by de facto discrimination against Roma as well as by the very high rate of unemployment among members of the Roma community. 10. While the Committee notes the “comprehensive Roma settlements development programme”, as well as the “programme of support for the construction of communal rental housing of a different standard”, it expresses concern about the isolation of the Roma community in ghetto-like neighbourhoods and their critical situation in respect of housing conditions, especially in the eastern part of the country, where most of the Roma community is concentrated. 11. The Committee is alarmed at the critical health situation of some Roma communities, which is largely a consequence of their poor living conditions. 12. The Committee is concerned about reports of cases of sterilization of Roma women without their full and informed consent. In this respect, the Committee welcomes the assurances given by the delegation that a draft law on health care, which would address shortcomings in the system by specifying the requirement of free and informed consent for medical procedures and guarantee patients’ access to medical files, has been approved by the Government and should shortly be adopted by the Parliament. 13. The Committee notes the assurances given by the delegation that the State party is adequately following up the Committee’s recommendations in its opinion No. 11/1998 (Miroslav Lacko v. Slovak Republic), and that the new draft Criminal Code will provide for the punishment of violations of the right of access of all persons to public places guaranteed in article 5 (f) of the Convention. 14. The Committee strongly recommends that the State party ratify the amendments to article 8, paragraph 6, of the Convention, adopted on 15 January 1992 at the Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention and endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 47/111. In this connection, the Committee refers to General Assembly resolution 57/194, in which the Assembly strongly urged States parties to accelerate their domestic ratification procedures with regard to the amendment and to notify the Secretary-General expeditiously in writing of their agreement to the amendment. A similar appeal was reiterated by the Assembly in resolution 58/160.

15. The Committee recommends that the State party take into account the relevant parts of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action when implementing the Convention in the domestic legal order, in particular in respect of articles 2 to 7 of the Convention, and that it include in its next periodic report information on further action plans or other measures they have taken to implement the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action at the national level.

16. The Committee recommends the State party to continue consulting with organizations of civil society working in the area of combating racial discrimination during the preparation of the next periodic report.

17. The Committee recommends that the State party’s reports be made readily available to the public from the time they are submitted and that the observations of the Committee on these reports be similarly publicized.

18. The Committee recommends that the State party submit its sixth, seventh and eighth periodic reports jointly, due on 28 May 2008, and that it address therein all points raised in the present concluding observations.


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