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Plan against intolerance not funded properly

The Slovak Spectator, 25. 1. 2016

It’s pointless to set out plans if we do not assign financial and human resources at ministries and other institutions, watchdogs say.

Amid criticism of Prime Minister Robert Fico’s statements about refugees that were labelled cynical and possibly even criminal, the cabinet passed two documents combating discrimination and intolerance on January 13. Though the plans could be beneficial, the lack of a clear financing mechanism will make them difficult to implement, human rights watchdog groups say. Two plans, the action plan on preventing all forms of discrimination and the action plan to prevent racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and other forms of intolerance, were passed based on the nationwide Human Rights Protection Strategy that was adopted a year ago. Continue reading

Remove obstacles to the work of women’s rights defenders

Council of Europe, 22. 9. 2015

Human rights defenders and civil society organisations working to protect the human rights of women and gender equality perform an essential role in Europe. They provide much needed assistance to victims of gender-based violence, combat discrimination against women, contribute to peace-building and hold authorities accountable for fulfilling their human rights obligations. Unfortunately, as I learned at a roundtable with a group of women’s rights defenders in Vilnius in July, they also face serious obstacles in their work.

Along with other human rights activists, the situation and working environment of women’s rights defenders are affected by several negative trends in the Council of Europe area. Restrictive legislation and repressive practices against civil society in Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation and Belarus have also had an impact on those who work to protect the human rights of women and promote gender equality. In Hungary, several women’s rights organisations were among the beneficiaries of the Norwegian NGO Fund and have been targeted by smear campaigns, audits and inspections. Continue reading

Equal opportunities for Roma students

eeagrants.org, 11. 9. 2015

“We want to change the lives of our students and influence the rhetoric around Roma education.” This is how Zuzana Balážová of the Slovak Centre for Research of Ethnicity and Culture (CVEK) describes the ‘You also have a chance’ project. The project is helping Roma students access third level education at the University of Economics (EUBA) in Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, by providing free courses, scholarships or extra coaching. Last year, four Roma students from disadvantaged backgrounds received support. All successfully passed the EUBA admission exams in June and enrolled this September in the Faculty of Economic Informatics (Ján Lakatoš and Lucia Bílá) and the Faculty of Business Managment (Mária Sándorová and Tomáš Horváth). “It was a great opportunity for me to get high quality preparation that my family would never have been able to afford,” said Ján Lakatoš. Continue reading

Maternity wards have a problem with attitude

The Slovak Spectator, 7. 7. 2015

Maternity wards in the Trnava and Bratislava regions were recently called out for violations of human rights. Were the claims exaggerated? A mother who gave birth both in Canada and Trnava compares.

No matter what country, the birth experience is highly dependent on individual hospital staff, their characters and attitudes. I had friendly doctors both in Canada and Trnava. My last birth in Slovakia was three years ago, and apparently things have improved since then in Trnava. There are, however, some overarching themes that differentiate Slovakia from other Western countries. The most important deficiency in Slovak hospitals is not a matter of money, equipment, or expertise, but of attitude. Continue reading

A question of rights

The Slovak Spectator, 16. 6. 2015

Human rights might seem an abstract concept in a hospital maternity ward, but in essence the issue is no more than basic human decency and compassion.

When the Duchess of Cambridge, wearing high heels and her radiant smile, left the hospital just a few hours after having delivered her second child, women in Slovakia once again started asking why they are kept locked up in maternity wards for days after their children are born. Still the length of hospital stays appear a minor problem in the light of the monitoring by the human rights watchdog group Citizen, Democracy, Accountability published in late April. Continue reading

Maternity wards pay little attention to human rights

The Slovak Spectator, 16. 6. 2015

“So I stayed there those two hours alone, without my baby, without my husband, two hours I was lying there on my own, incredibly thirsty, terribly pained, full of negative emotions about what I’d allowed to happen, […] it wasn’t supposed to be like this.” This is how a woman describes the immediate moments after she gave birth to her child in one of the Slovak hospitals in an interview which was part of the monitoring by human rights watchdog Citizen, Democracy, Accountability (ODZ) and Women’s Circles. The findings of their two-year-long monitoring were published in late April 2015 and show that even though most Slovak hospitals now label themselves baby-friendly and have introduced practices that were unheard of some years ago, from the perspective of human rights, most deliveries in Slovakia are well below standards observed in advanced democracies. Continue reading

WOMEN – MOTHERS – BODIES

CDA, 29. 4. 2015

Women’s Human Rights in Obstetric Care in Healthcare Facilities in Slovakia

Editor: Janka Debrecéniová

Authors: Kristína Babiaková, Janka Debrecéniová, Miroslava Hlinčíková, Zuzana Krišková, Martina Sekulová, Sylvia Šumšalová

Publisher: Občan, demokracia a zodpovednosť, Bratislava, April 2015

 
The publication is the first one to discuss obstetric care in the Slovak Republic from the perspective of women’s human rights. Besides filling the gap in knowledge of problems women face in relation to childbirth, it is also innovative in terms of research methodology. It summarises the results of more than two years of intensive efforts of our organisation in cooperation with NGO Women’s Circles that promote the human rights of women in Slovakia, which carried out a pilot study and monitoring. In collecting and processing the various data, an inter-disciplinary team of experts combined standard methods of social scientific research with methods used in human rights monitoring, one of them being the Free Access to Information Act mandating public authorities and maternity wards to provide information. Authors of the publication managed to offer many key perspectives currently missing in obstetric care in Slovakia, including both the authentic experiences of women, and a women’s human rights perspective, among others. Continue reading

The soul is more fragile than you might think

Radio Slovakia International, 16. 3. 2015

„Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,” says the World Health Organization (WHO). Well, preserving someone’s mental wellbeing in Slovakia is a question trickier than you might think as the RSI reporter Anca Dragu found out.

Our law expert Janka Debrecéniová speaks about legal aspects, employers´ duties and work management possibilities in cases of stress-related disorders (from 8th minute). Continue reading

Advocating for systemic changes towards non-discrimination and protection of human rights of women with the emphasis on reproductive rights and employment discrimination of women

From November 2014 till December 2015, we were implementing the project Advocating for Systemic Changes towards Non-discrimination and Protection of Human Rights of Women with the Emphasis on Reproductive Rights and Employment Discrimination of Women. The project was supported by Open Society Foundation (New York), within its program Human Rights Initiative 2014. The project comprised advocacy activities aiming to systemic changes towards non-discrimination and protection of human rights of women mainly in the field of reproductive rights of women and partly also in the field of employment discrimination. All of the activities were a continuation of CDA´s long-lasting efforts in the field. The project was a direct continuation of an OSI-funded project in 2013-2014 on the same issues, with additions and modifications necessitated by the findings and outcomes of that previous project. Continue reading

Advocacy activities – institutional protection and support of human rights in Slovakia, prevention of violations of the women human rights, implementation of the gender equality principle

Beginning in October 2014 and continuing through January 2016, we had been in the process of realizing the project Advocacy activities focused on the improvement of institutional protection and support of human rights in the Slovak Republic with the emphasis on the prevention of violations of the human rights of women and on consistent implementation of the principle of gender equality in public policies. We were working in cooperation with other women’s NGOs, and the project was supported by the NGO Fund of the EEA Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 within the area of Gender Equality and the Combating of Gender-based Violence of the programme Democracy and Human Rights. Continue reading