Slovak officials criticise ERRC report

02 April 1998

On December 8, the English-language Slovak wire service SITA reported that the Slovak Interior Ministry had criticised the ERRC publication Time of the Skinheads: Denial and Exclusion of Roma in Slovakia, which appeared in Slovak translation in November 1997. The ERRC report addresses in particular the high level of racially-motivated violence against Roma in Slovakia and the failure of Slovak authorities to censure such violence.

In a statement presented to SITA by Interior Ministry spokesperson Peter Ondera, the Ministry stated that a serious shortcoming of the report was that Ministry experts had not been consulted during publication. The Ministry also expressed the view that the report provides evidence of the poor level of insight of the authors, displays a biased and superficial approach to the problem and an absence of any real effort at analysis. The Ministry also complained of factual errors in the report, although neither in his public statements, nor in an 11-page statement sent to the ERRC by spokesperson Ondera, did the Ministry provide examples of these. The Ministry went on to express concern that the report might distort Slovakia’s image abroad and harm its foreign political interests.

In related developments, the Slovak daily Národná Obroda reported on December 18 that the daily Slovenská Republika had published a statement concerning the ERRC report by member of parliament and head of the foreign relations committee Mr Dušan Slobodník. In the article, MP Slobodník reiterated the concerns of the Interior Ministry and went on to complain that the ERRC had singled out Slovakia for criticism. He added that, „a certain Rom whose name I can’t remember” had recently written a letter to George Soros complaining that he funds the ERRC. Finally, MP Slobodník remarked that the ERRC conducts „evil cadre-politics”. Slobodník concluded, „So again Soros and his next anti-Slovak move.”

(SITA, Narodna Obroda)


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