Slovakia moves to prevent Roma from leaving

15 August 2001

On May 23, 2001, the Slovak cabinet approved measures aimed at curbing the flight of Roma from Slovakia. Decision 464, "on common information of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Director of the Slovak Information Service and Deputy Prime Minister Pál Csaky about measures to restrict the emigration of Roma abroad, on the basis of an investigation that was forwarded by the Director of the Slovak Information Service to the Special Control Chamber of the National Council of the Slovak Republic (i.e., the Slovak parliament) to check the actions of the Slovak Information Service" (#3583/2001), includes measures such as the introduction of stricter conditions for those "citizens suspected of trying to emigrate" when applying for passports, as well as the introduction of stricter conditions on the payment of welfare benefits. The decision forwards to parliament a nine-page report of the Slovak secret service on "Romani migration" for consideration. Attempts to restrict the freedom of movement of Roma would be in dramatic violation of international human rights agreements to which Slovakia is party, notably the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). Articles 5(d)(i) and 5(d)(ii) of ICERD "guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin [...] the right to freedom of movement and residence within the border of a state" and "the right to leave any country, including one's own, and to return to one's country" respectively. Restrictions on the right to freedom of movement would also violate Article 12, in conjunction with Article 2(1), of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides for freedom of movement without discrimination of any kind.



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