8. Miscellaneous: What else can be found about languages and minorities?
Updated (January 2002)
2001 (November) Regular Report to the Council of Europe on Slovakia’s Progress towards Accession – Human Rights and the Protection of Minorities
As mentioned in the previous Regular Reports, human rights and freedoms of national minorities are fully respected in Slovakia. With the exception of Roma minority, other recognized minorities (numbering more then ten) are comparatively well integrated to Slovak society.
The Advisory Committee on the Council of Europe Framework Convention highlighted the achievements made in improving inter-community relations, notably the one with the Hungarian minority.
The implementation of the basic treaty with Hungary has continued. The Slovak government largely assented with the crucial demands of SMK (the Hungarian Coalition Party), which politically represents the Hungarian minority in Slovakia.
The agreement referred mainly to the accession to the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages and to the establishment of a faculty for Hungarian teachers at the University in Nitra. Whereas the Government is willing to provide funds for the Faculty, the autonomous administrative bodies of the University have so far been reluctant to follow the agreement reached on the political level.
The situation of the Roma minority remains difficult. Roma students are under-represented in the educational system, however; they are over-represented in schools for retarded children. Housing situation, especially in the settlements in the Eastern part of Slovakia, remains a matter of concern too.
Over the reference period, substantial further efforts have been made by the Slovak Government and some municipalities in regard to national minorities:
In June 2001, Slovakia ratified the European Charter of Regional and Minority Languages. The Charter applies to the Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, German, Polish, Roma, Ruthenian and Ukrainian languages in all municipalities in which live over 20% of representatives of national minorities. The Hungarian minority, in conformity with the flexible instruments set up in the Charter, will benefit from the most generous provisions.
Implementation of the Government Roma strategy, which was adopted last year, started at both national and local levels. More than 100 projects were carried out in the areas of housing, infrastructure, education, training, employment, social affairs, health and culture. Approximately 50% of allocated financial means (4 million ª) were spent on the implementation of this strategy.
In the area of education, the Government has continued with establishment pre-school preparatory classes for Roma children and with construction of a number of schools in municipalities with a high proportion of Roma.