Executive summary

AuthorDurbáková, Vanda
1. Introduction
The Slovak Republic is a country of 5.4 million people. In addition to Slovak nationals, a
wide range of minority groups live in the country. The largest groups are Hungarians
(8.5 %) and the Roma minority. The official number of Roma in the last census (2011) was
105 738 (2 %),1 although the Atlas of Roma Communities 2019 contains data on 405 024
Roma living in 949 concentrations - urban settlements.2 The other minority groups include
Czechs, Ukrainians, Croatians, Germans, Poles, Bulgarians, Moravians and Jews.3
In Slovakia, many individuals and groups face serious discrimination due to some of their
traits. For example, the Roma people face widespread, deep prejudice and discrimination,
which exists in all areas of life and is often characterised by segregation and exclusion.
Roma living in segregated settlements face an increased threat of forced eviction. In 2019,
the Government of the Slovak Republic adopted an updated action plan to implement the
Strategy of the Slovak Republic for the Integration of Roma for 20192020, which includes
housing, and reiterates the importance of reducing the residential segregation of
marginalised Roma communities and supporting their integration through building a
system of multi-staged social housing.4 In 2019, the Slovak equality body published a
research report mapping the implementation of the right to housing in Slovakia, which
raises issues concerning this right in relation to Roma living in marginalised communities.5
Too many Roma children are educated in segregated schools and/or classes and many of
them are educated in schools for children with intellectual disabilities. The segregation of
Roma children is the subject of cases in the domestic courts. The cases are litigated by
NGOs, mostly as actio popularis claims or by legally representing individual claimants in
court proceedings. In 2019, the first instance court dismissed a case concerning the
documented segregation of Roma children at a primary school in a village called Tera.6
The claimant (a local NGO) argued that some Roma children at the school faced segregation
due to the decisions of the state authorities responsible for setting up the locality’s school
catchment area as well as due to their inactivity in preventing existing segregation. The
decision was appealed with a request to the Court of Appeal to refer the case to the Court
of Justice of the EU for preliminary ruling on interpretation of the EU law in this case. The
proceedings before the Court of Appeal are still pending. The domestic court also dismissed
a claim by a Roma child that he had been discriminated against in access to education by
being placed in special class for children with intellectual disabilities.7 The decision was
appealed and the case is pending before the appeal court. The first (and so far the only
final) case on the segregation of Roma children in education decided by national courts, in
2011 and 2012, concluded that the education of Roma children in separate mainstream
classes amounts to racial discrimination and undermines the human dignity of segregated
1 See http://census2011.statistics.sk/tabulky.html.
2 Atlas of Roma Communities 2019, uprocessed data are available at https://www.minv.sk/?atlas-romskych-
komunit-2019. The data in the official census were based on people declaring their own ethnicity and many
individuals did not openly declare themselves as Roma. Data in the Atlas of Roma Communities is based on
perceived ethnicity attributed to them in the research, which explains a difference in numbers.
3 Each making up less than 1 % of the national population. See http://census2011.statistics.sk/tabulky.html.
4 Slovak Republic (2019) ‘Aktualizované akčné plány Stratégie Slovenskej republiky pre integráciu Rómov do
roku 2020 na roky 2019 - 2020 v oblastiach vzdelávaniaĽ zamestnaniaĽ zdraviaĽ bývania a finančnej inklúzie’
(The updated action plans of the Strategy of the Slovak Republic for the Integration of Roma up to 2020 for
the period of 20192020 in the areas of education, employment, health, housing and financial inclusion)
Adopted on 17 January 2019 by the the Slovak Government. Available at
5 RiečanskýĽ M.Ľ PaovčíkovἠG.Ľ UjházyovἠM. (2019)Ľ Právo na bývanie: Výskumné sondy v oblasti
uplatovania práva na bývanie na Slovensku (Right to Housing: Research probes on the implementation of
the right to housing in Slovakia), Bratislava: Slovenské národné stredisko pre udské práva. The report is
available in Slovak at http://www.snslp.sk/SnslpWeb.html#menu=1419.
6 Decision of the District Court in PrešovĽ No. 19C/14/2016Ľ 13 March 2019.
7 Decision of the District Court in Malacky, No. 5C/212/2014, 17 May 2018.

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