Slovak towns repeal anti-Romani ordinances

15 July 1999

Roma rights activists scored a victory in Slovakia in mid-April 1999 when the villages of Nagov and Rokytovce near the northeastern Slovak town of Medzilaborce lifted decrees issued in 1997 banning Roma from settling in or even entering them (see „Snapshots from around Europe", Roma Rights, Autumn 1997). On March 12, 1999, having exhausted all possibilities for domestic remedy in Slovakia, three Romani clients represented by the ERRC and local counsel filed a complaint at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France (see „Legal Defence", Roma Rights, 1/99). Additional pressure was brought to bear by the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe of the United States government, and Slovak Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights Mr László Nagy then reportedly ordered the two towns to repeal the decrees. The decisions hopefully mark the end of what has been a ten-year campaign by local authorities to „get rid of local Romanies", in the words of one mayor.

(BBC, ERRC, Sme)


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