Slovak Minister of Justice Challenges Special Measures in Constitutional Court

11 March 2005

According to the Slovak English newspaper The Slovak Spectator of September 20, 2004, Mr Daniel Lipšic filed a complaint with the Slovak Constitutional Court against the new Act on Equal Treatment in Certain Areas and Protection against Discrimination, asking the Court to declare unconstitutional provisions in the law making possible special measures aimed at reversing inequalities resulting from past discrimination. Mr Lipšic was quoted as having stated that quotas designed to assist disadvantaged groups access jobs and education "infringed on human dignity" and "strengthen the stereotypes that some groups cannot achieve success without special protection". In November 2004, the ERRC submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Court, addressing the legality of special measures under international law.

The European Council's Directive EC/2000/43 on "implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin" which provided the basis for the Slovak law provides at Article 5 that the principle of equal treatment does not prevent governments from maintaining or adopting special measures. Numerous international laws, including the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination declare that special measures are not considered discrimination, provided that they are temporary in nature and end once equality in fact has been achieved.

(ERRC, The Slovak Spectator)


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