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United Nations

In August the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination received Slovakia's periodic report on combating racial bias and adopted its concluding observations and recommendations. The committee stated its concern about allegations that Slovak police and prosecutors have failed to investigate acts of racially-motivated violence promptly and effectively and about the socioeconomic status of Roma citizens. It noted Slovakia's recognition of the committee's competence to receive discrimination claims from Slovak citizens.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

The OSCE high commissioner for national minorities issued a report on the situation of Roma and Sinti in the OSCE area in March, citing unemployment rates of up to 80 percent among Slovak Roma, the absence of Romani representatives in the 150-member Slovak Parliament, and disadvantages Romani children face in schools.

Council of Europe

European Court of Human Rights president Luzius Wildhaber ranked Slovakia among the countries flooding the court with high numbers of complaints; currently there are 250 registered complaints from Slovakia, the majority of which are likely to be accepted. Almost all of the complaints filed allege unfounded delays in court proceedings. A visit to Slovakia by the European Committee to Prevent Torture in 2000 was announced, but the findings had not been released at this writing. The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities visited Slovakia in February. In June the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance published its second report on Slovakia, acknowledging recent positive steps taken by Slovakia but recommending full adoption and implementation of antiracist legislation and of measures to combat discrimination against the Roma community.

European Union

In February the European Union (E.U.) opened membership talks with a group of six candidate nations including Slovakia. At the sixth meeting of the E.U.-Slovakia Association Council in June, the E.U. recognized progress in the protection of minorities, particularly the 1999 adoption of the minority language law. The E.U. urged implementation of the law and particular attention to improving the situation of the Roma.

Some E.U. countries retained visa regimes, imposed in 1999 when a flood of Slovak Roma sought asylum. Belgium suspended its visa requirement on August 1. Norway lifted visa requirements for Slovak nationals on August 15.

United States

During U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's November 1999 Bratislava visit, a sign of dramatically improving relations with Slovakia, Albright called for better treatment of the Roma minority. In February 2000, the U.S. State Department, in its annual report on human rights, noted considerable improvement in Slovakia but said that the status and police treatment of the Roma remained problems.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2000

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