MINELRES: Fwd: Inquiry announces findings on minority rights in Slovakia

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Tue Nov 27 20:14:50 2007


Original sender: Roma Virtual Network <romale@zahav.net.il>


NEWS FROM THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT SOCIALIST GROUP

19 November 2007:  Contact Tony Robinson +32-475-257410   
                   www.socialistgroup.eu

INQUIRY ANNOUNCES FINDINGS ON MINORITY RIGHTS IN SLOVAKIA 

A special inquiry into the rights of the Roma and Hungarian minorities
in Slovakia today announced mixed results and declared that more remains
to be done.

The day-long inquiry by a six-strong delegation from the European
Parliament Socialist Group also issued a strong plea for the exclusion
of extremist politicians from decisions on future development of
minority rights.

The inquiry involved intensive discussions in Bratislava and the
Hungarian region of Slovakia.  Inquiry members led by Socialist Group
vice-president Hannes Swoboda met government ministers, the Hungarian
party and representatives of civil society, particularly from the
Hungarian minority.  Delegation members, who included Hungarian and
Slovak Euro MPs, also held talks with representatives of the Roma
community.

In a detailed joint statement issued after the talks, Mr Swoboda and
Socialist Group spokesperson Jan Marinus Wiersma MEP said tonight:  "We
see that progress has been made, especially for the Roma community.  But
a lot remains to be done to improve the economic and social situation of
the Roma.  Concerning the Hungarian minority, there are still some
questions, especially in relation to the Hungarian language being used
in schools and universities."

The Euro MPs called for dialogue between the Slovak government and the
Hungarian minority, expressing the hope that the government will involve
the minority in legislation affecting it.

"We made it very clear that many of the speeches of the leader of the
Slovak National Party, Jan Slota, do not contribute to an atmosphere of
conciliation and dialogue.  They in no way meet European standards of
public debate.  Such statements could lead to fears in the Hungarian
community that their rights will be reduced or are in danger."

Calling on democrats in Slovakia to challenge such speeches and "draw a
clear line between normal political debate and these kinds of attack on
a section of the community", the Euro MPs declared:

"The decision about the future development of minority rights must be
taken out of the hands of the extremists and led by the democratic
forces.  The extremists must not dominate debate about relations either
between Slovaks and Hungarians inside Slovakia or between the two
countries."

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