MINELRES: Human Rights Groups Urge Thorough Follow-up of Recent Incident of Police Violence and Abuse of Romani Boys in Slovakia

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri Apr 24 17:51:43 2009

Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>

Human Rights Groups Urge Thorough Follow-up of Recent Incident of Police
Violence and Abuse of Romani Boys in Slovakia
21 April 2009, Budapest, London: Today, the European Roma Rights Centre
(ERRC) and Amnesty International (AI) called for the government of
Slovakia to ensure that a thorough and unbiased investigation is
conducted of the recent incident of physical abuse, inhuman and
degrading treatment of six Romani boys in Kosice, Slovakia, by the
police. In a letter to the government and police officials, ERRC and AI
requested that the perpetrators be prosecuted to the fullest extent of
the law, that adequate compensation be provided to the victims and that
senior government and police officials offer apologies for the suffering
caused by the responsible police officers. 

The incident was made public when graphic video footage of the
responsible officers forcing six Romani boys, aged 11-16, to violently
hit each other, strip naked, and kiss was released to the daily
newspaper SME. The ERRC and AI welcomed the prompt response from
government and police officials calling for the immediate dismissals of
those involved and full investigation into the incident, including the
possibility of a racial motive. 

According to Slovakia’s commitments under international law, the
government has an obligation to protect the right of all persons to
freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment and to be treated with humanity and with respect for the
inherent dignity of the human person. The police officers appear to have
severely violated these rights and the domestic criminal code,
particularly as they targeted children from a vulnerable minority group,
who may have suffered lasting psychological damage as a result of this

The ERRC and AI also expressed their deep concern about the tendency of
police representatives to remark on the alleged criminal actions of the
Romani boys, rather than solely denouncing the violent, degrading
actions of the police officers. The organisations urged officials to
refrain from such statements, which detract from the strength of their
condemnation of the police violence and may influence the investigation
into the perpetrators of the abusive and illegal treatment of children. 

The full text of the letter is available HERE. 

For further information, contact: 
Tara Bedard, ERRC Programmes Coordinator, tara.bedard@errc.org (English) 
Stanislav Daniel, ERRC Consultant, stanko.daniel@errc.org (English and


The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the human rights situation of Roma and
provides legal defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more
information about the European Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC on the
web at http://www.errc.org 

To support the ERRC, please visit this link:

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Tel: +36.1.413.2200

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