Horizontal Rule

Slovak Authorities Must Investigate the Police Action in Romani Settlement Moldava nad Bodvou

24 June 2013

Budapest, Bratislava, 24 June 2013: Amnesty International and the European Roma Rights Centre are concerned over the reports of excessive use of force during the police action in the Romani settlement Budulovská in the town of Moldava nad Bodvou in eastern Slovakia carried out last week. The organisations are calling for an immediate investigation of the allegations. Anyone responsible for the arbitrary or abusive use of force should be brought to justice.

According to media and NGO reports, in the afternoon of 19 June, 63 police officers entered the settlement in Budulovská Street aiming to carry out an investigation into “increased criminal activity”. The police action reportedly resulted in injuries to over 30 individuals who – according to the media and the community activists – did not resist or obstruct the police. Among the injured were reported to be young children.

An NGO that runs a community centre in the settlement, ETP Slovakia, provided further information about damages to the properties of the settlement’s residents. The police allegedly failed to communicate or explain to the residents the purpose of the action. Amnesty International and the European Roma Rights Centre learned that they were entering individual houses, kicking out doors and breaking windows.

Under international human rights law and standards, the use of force by the police must be proportionate, lawful and necessary. The UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms specify that police may use force or firearms only where unavoidable and proportionate to a legitimate objective.

The Act no. 171/1993 Coll. on Police Forces regulates the duties of police officers when on duty. It obliges them not to interfere with rights of others more than the extent unavoidable to pursue the legitimate aim they are following and to respect the Code of Ethics issued by the Ministry of Interior of Slovak Republic.

Amnesty International and the European Roma Rights Centre consider that these requirements were not met in the police action in Budulovská settlement.

Amnesty International and the European Roma Rights Centre are also concerned about the announcement that the police aim to continue carrying out similar interventions, “especially in areas with a reported rise in criminality”. The areas quoted by the media as possible targets for future interventions are known for their Romani settlements.

The organisations are calling on the Slovak Ministry of Interior to ensure the police action carried out in the Bukulovská settlement on 19 June 2013 is investigated in line with international human rights standards. In particular, the organisations are calling for a prompt, independent, thorough and effective investigation that would also look into any possible discriminatory element of the police action. Those responsible for human rights violations must be held accountable.

Furthermore, Amnesty International and the European Roma Rights Centre are calling on the Slovak Ministry of Interior to ensure that any police actions are carried out in compliance with domestic and international human rights standards and do not amount to unlawful use of force or discrimination.

The Slovak version is available here.

For further information:

Sinan Gokçen
ERRC Media and Communications Officer
sinan.gokcen@errc.org
+36.30.500.1324

Horizontal Rule

Call for Grant Proposals: Community Legal Work Projects

20 January 2017

The ERRC’s legal work – which the organisation describes as “strategic litigation” – has been called “elite” or “elitist”. Budapest-best legal staff members work with us, Roma, as well as with local lawyers and NGOs, to design cases to have a big impact at national or European levels, and ultimately to ensure greater respect for our rights. But is this really working for us? Are we yet convinced – as the ERRC is – that court cases, and relying on legal rights more generally, are going to make our situation any better?

more ...

horizontal rule

Call for Proposals: Website Design and Hosting

18 January 2017

The European Roma Rights Centre (“the ERRC”) needs a clear, bold website to get strong messages across to the allies and foes of Roma rights: We are equal. The rights violations we suffer are real and unacceptable. We are taking our cases to court and winning. And the ERRC’s activist lawyers, advocates, researchers, human rights monitors, and entire team are making it possible.

more ...

horizontal rule

Romani Woman Harassed by Racist Hospital Staff during Childbirth Wins Case

18 January 2017

Budapest, 18 January 2017: A Romani woman harassed by staff while giving birth at a Hungarian hospital has won a decision in her favour from the Hungarian Equality Body. The woman who gave birth to her baby daughter in February 2016 was alone in the hospital and intimidated by staff who subjected her to verbal harassment and racial slurs, with one doctor telling her “you Gypsies give birth only for the money!”

more ...

horizontal rule