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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Monday, 3 February 2014 (Morning)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Slovakia
Represented by 15-member delegation headed by Mr. Peter JAVORČÍK, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit
the Slovakia page on the UPR website

Troika *

Ethiopia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the Slovakia page on the UPR Extranet **)

  • The head of delegation remarked that members of civil society were involved in the process of preparing the national report through the Government Council for Human Rights, National Minorities and Gender Equality, which served as an institutionalized platform for government representatives and NGO actors to regularly discuss human rights matters;
  • In 2012, the role of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs increased considerably with respect to human rights policies at the national level. It also has the role of coordinator of human rights policies that are implemented by individual line ministries;
  • Important legislative amendments to the anti-discrimination law were adopted to strengthen protection against discrimination, including the widening of scope of indirect discrimination;
  • By establishing the Committee for the rights of LGBTI persons in 2012, the Government responded to the need to ensure further promotion and awareness about discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity;
  • As a multi-ethnic country, Slovakia makes every effort to create a suitable environment for the preservation and the development of national minorities. The Government plenipotentiary for national minorities was established in June 2012.  Its role is to ensure the adequate follow-up to recommendations made by regional human rights mechanisms pertaining to national minorities;
  • Aware of the lack of a comprehensive concept paper on human rights at the national level, Slovakia took the decision to elaborate a national strategy for the promotion and protection of human rights, which is supposed to be completed by June 2014;
  • Since its last review, Slovakia ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol, the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communication procedure;
  • The national ratification process of the Convention on the protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances has also started;
  • The situation of Roma communities in Slovakia required further efforts to achieve satisfactory results from a human rights, social and economic perspective. Improving their situation has been a long-term priority for the Slovak Government;
  • The strategy for Roma Integration up to 2020, adopted in 2012, represented the primary comprehensive policy paper of the Government for the social integration of Roma and provided a basis for adopting policies in four main areas: health, employment, housing and education;
  • The establishment of a national human rights institution in line with the Paris Principles was a Government priority.  Necessary steps were expected to be taken in this regard in the near future;
  • A procedure to establish a national independent institution for the rights of the child was also about to start.  Slovakia hoped to have the first legislative draft of it in the first half of 2014.

Participants

In total 67 States participated in the dialogue:  26 HRC members and 41 observers  (Statements available on Slovakia page on the UPR Extranet).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The enactment of the National Roma Integration Strategy up to 2020;
  • Measures to combat discrimination and the amendment of the Anti-Discrimination Act in 2013;
  • Accession to the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and its OP;
  • Accession to the OP to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;
  • Steps taken to protect asylum seekers and persons granted asylum;
  • Integration of human rights in the school system.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Steps to further promote and implement the National Roma Integration Strategy;
  • Measures to address discrimination against Roma;
  • Efforts to include Roma children in mainstream education;
  • Action taken to strengthen the participation of women in decision-making;
  • Steps taken to effectively combat human trafficking;
  • Measures to reform the judiciary aiming to guarantee its independence

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Slovakia.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To fully implement the National Roma Integration Strategy to combat socio-economic marginalization and discrimination; to keep Roma NGOs actively involved in the implementation and assessment of the Strategy;
  • To take all necessary measures to address discrimination against Roma including in employment, education, health care, housing and loan practices; To give the Roma the chance to buy out the now, sometimes illegal, lands of settlements;
  • To prevent and condemn all acts of violence and discrimination against Roma persons, including that committed by the police force;
  • To strengthen efforts to include Roma children in mainstream education and to develop a plan to de-segregate Roma education;
  • To establish an independent mechanism to investigate complaints related to discrimination and segregation within the schooling system;
  • To strengthen the participation of women in decision-making in public and private life and to bridge the wage gap divide;
  • To continue to support the rights of the LGBT community through its human rights framework and to develop the national action plan for the protection of human rights of LGBT persons within the context of the planned human rights strategy;
  • To reinforce measures for combatting trafficking in women and girls for purposes of sexual exploitation; To ensure close cooperation between police and NGOs who provide assistance to human trafficking victims;
  • To enhance efforts to combat violence against women and domestic violence; To ensure the effective reinforcement of laws against sexual harassment and to adopt additional preventive and protective measures to combat sexual violence in the workplace;
  • To pursue efforts to reform the judiciary aiming to guarantee its independence;
  • To continue efforts to establish an independent national human rights institution in compliance with the Paris Principles and provide it with adequate resources;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the OPCAT, the Convention on enforced disappearances, ILO Conventions 169 (indigenous peoples) and 189 (domestic workers), and the Convention on the rights of migrant workers.  

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Slovakia is scheduled to take place on
Thursday, 6 February 2014.

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

Media contacts:
Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711,
rgomez@ohchr.org
Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org

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