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Slovakia made significant progress in human rights protection, but incidents of employment discrimination, skinhead (racist youth) violence, and police brutality and weak antidiscrimination legislation and enforcement threatened the Slovak Roma minority. The governing Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK), in office for two years, faced criticism for failure effectively to implement legislation such as the September 1999 Resolution and Measures Concerning the Roma National Minority.

Slovakia continued its movement toward European Union accession, took the first step toward NATO membership by signing a joint statement calling for membership by 2002, and became a member state of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Racially motivated attacks on Roma or foreigners are not subject to special sanctions under Slovak law, which provides no express protections against discrimination by reason of ethnic origin or nationality. Deputy Prime Minister for Human and Minority Rights Pal Csaky announced in May his plan to draft an antidiscrimination law. In November 1999 the Slovak National Labor Office director, despite criticism from rights groups, defended his office's policy of marking files of persons regarded as Roma with the letter "R"; he said the practice was implemented because of the "complicated social adaptability" of the group.

During a violent police raid in the Romani settlement Zehra on December 2, 1999, police shot a thirteen-year-old boy in the leg, and officers reportedly used ethnic insults and threatened to rape Roma women. Both the criminal complaint against the involved officers and the appeal were rejected.

On December 17, 1999, a skinhead in Car assaulted a twenty-one-year-old Romani man. A police spokesperson described the incident as one of "youthful imprudence" and ruled out a racial motive. On February 7, 2000, two Roma were run down and killed while walking with their son. Rather than arrest the suspect, a well-known Slovak, police threatened family members, beating some of them, the family said. On February 20, four assailants wielding baseball bats attacked Roma in a bar in the town of Velke Kapusany; two Roma sustained serious injuries.

On August 20, three men shouting racial epithets beat Anastazia Balazova, a fifty-year-old Roma woman, and two of her daughters. She died from her injuries two days later. Deputy Prime Minister Csaky called the crime "deplorable," but the chief investigator said that police had no evidence that the crime was racially motivated. On August 24, the Slovak parliament observed a minute of silence in memory of Anastazia Balazova.

In August Justice Minister Jan Carnogursky announced his opposition to the registration of homosexual partnerships, which supporters framed as a potential E.U. accession issue since four member countries of the E.U. recognize homosexual partnerships.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2000

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