|National Minorities in the Slovak Republic
The Slovak Republic is situated in a region in which the various national, ethnic and religious minorities have been mixing indefinitely throughout history. During its history, Slovakia - as a part of the former Austrian monarchy, since 1918 as a part of the former Czechoslovak Republic in the inter-war period and after 1945, and since 1993 as an independent state following the dissolution of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic - has been a country of many nationalities. The minorities played an important role in developing the country´s economic life and in populating desert areas.
In the following text Slovak Republic presents a brief report on the effective participation of persons belonging to national minorities in public affairs, in particular in the decision-making process on matters affecting them in the Slovak Republic, on their cultural life and education.
The Slovak Republic is fulfilling two key tasks through its minority policy: the creation of all necessary legal and practical conditions for securing the equality of all of its citizens without discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin, including effective participation in public life and, at the same time, the creation of conditions for the full integration of all citizens into society while preserving and developing the cultural values of persons belonging to national minorities. This policy is based on valid relevant international and domestic legal documents.
In its minority policy, the SR proceeds in line with the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and on the basis of commitments concerning the protection of national minorities in United Nations conventions and declarations and in the documents of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, particularly the Copenhagen Document of 29 June 1990, in order to ensure the effective protection of national minorities and the rights and freedoms of persons belonging to those minorities within the rule of law, respecting the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Slovakia.
The protection of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities is essential to stability, democratic security and peace in Europe. As a pluralist and genuinely democratic society, the Slovak Republic not only respects the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity of each person belonging to a national minority, but also creates appropriate conditions enabling these persons to express, preserve and develop their own identity and fully participate in the life of the society. The Slovak Republic endeavours to create a climate of tolerance and dialogue between national minorities, the Government and the majority population, which is necessary to enable cultural diversity to be a source of enrichment for the society.
National Minorities in general
There is no legal definition of the term national minority in the SR's legislation at present. Equally, there is no formal system for the official recognition of national minorities. The existence of national minorities is based on the individual fundamental rights of persons belonging to national minorities enacted in the Constitution of the SR, other relevant domestic laws and international legal documents. Official statistics (the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic engages in demographic statistics in the SR) derived from censuses show that within the territory of the Slovak Republic besides the majority Slovak nation there are living 11 autochthonous national minorities. Principally there are no regions in the Slovak Republic resided by 100% of the national minority members (see also table No. 1). There are no other original ethnic groups or national minorities in Slovakia besides these national minorities.
Table No. 1
The structure of national minorities in the Slovak Republic according to the last census from 1991 is stated in the following table.1
In addition, some ethnic groups were absorbed in the set of „other“ nationalities (e.g. Vietnamese). These groups do not even externally manifest a national minority. Nor can they be considered as migrants. Altough these minorities at present occupy a merely marginal position in the total demographics of the Slovak population, the older and the recent specialised literature adresses these groups.
Effective participation of persons belonging to national minorities in public affairs, in particular in the decision-making process on matters affecting them in the Slovak Republic.
Since its establishment on January 1st 1993 the Slovak Republic has joined all the most important international political and legal documents related to the observance and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rights of persons belonging to national minorities. Since 1993, the sovereign Slovak Republic has also actively taken part in the preparation of other relevant documents at the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and other international organisations and institutions. Equally, the Slovak Republic made a substantial contribution to the preparation and creation of the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities, including its oversight mechanism.
1. National legislation
Within the valid legal system of the Slovak Republic there are more than 30 legal norms (Acts of Parliament) that partially address the individual rights of the persons belonging to national minorities.
Legal Protection - Comprehensive list of legal norms valid within the SR's legal system that partially address the individual rights of the persons belonging to national minorities.
Constitutional Act No. 23/1991 Coll., which introduces the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms (especially Articles 24, 25, 37)
The Constitution of the Slovak Republic (Articles 6, 12, 33, 34, 47)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Decree No. 95/1974 Coll. concerning the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Decree No. 120/1976 Coll. concerning the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Act No. 468/1991 Coll. on the Operation of Radio and Television Broadcasting as amended by later regulations (section 9 paragraph 2 letter c/)
Act of the Slovak National Council No. 254/1991 Coll. on Slovak Television (section 3 paragraph 3 and section 6 letter j/)
Act of the Slovak National Council No. 255/1991 Coll. on Slovak Radio (section 6 letter d/)
Act of the Slovak National Council No. 36/1978 Coll. on Theaters as amended by Act of the Slovak National Council No. 115/1989 (section 31 letter f/)
Act No. 29/1984 Coll. on the Network of Primary and Secondary Schools as amended by later regulations (section 3 paragraph 1)
Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport Decree No. 293/1991 Coll. concerning the Schools Inspectorate (section 6 paragraph 1 letter e/)
Government of the Slovak Republic Ordinance No. 282/1994 Coll. on the Use of Textbooks and Classroom Texts
Ministry of Education Decree No. 280/1994 Coll. concerning private schools
Act of the National Council of the Slovak Republic No. 279/1993 Coll. on School Facilities as amended by later regulations
Ministry of Education Decree No. 353/1994 Coll. concerning pre-school facilities as amended by later regulations
Act of the Slovak National Council No. 542/1990 Coll. on State Administration in Education and Self-administration of Schools as amended by later regulations
Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health Decree No. 536/1990 Coll. concerning the establishment and operation of church schools
Government of the Slovak Republic Ordinance No. 113/1991 Coll. on the Provision of Subsidies to Private Schools from the State Budget
Association of Citizens Act No. 83/1990 Coll. as amended by later regulations (section 4 letter a/)
Right to Assembly Act No. 84/1990 Coll. as amended by Act No. 175/1990 Coll. (section 10 paragraph 1 letter a/)
Right to Petition Act No. 85/1990 Coll. (section 1 paragraph 4)
Act No. 256/1992 Coll. on the Protection of Personal Data in Information Systems (section 16)
Names and Surnames Act of the National Council of the Slovak Republic No. 300/1993 Coll. (section 2 paragraph 1, section 4 paragraph 4 and section 14)
Registers Act of the National Council of the Slovak Republic No. 154/1994 (section 16, section 19 paragraphs 3 and 5)
Act of the National Council of the Slovak Republic No. 191/1994 Coll. on Indication of Settlements in the Language of National Minorities (section 1 paragraph 1)
Civil Procedure Act No. 99/1963 Coll. (section 18)
Civil Code No. 40/1964 Coll. as amended by later regulations
Criminal Court Proceedings Act No. 141/1961 Coll. (Criminal Procedure) (section 2 paragraph 14)
Criminal Code No. 140/1961 Coll. as amended by later regulations (section 196, 198 and 259)
Labor Code No. 65/1965 Coll. as amended by later regulations
Act of the National Council of the Slovak Republic No. 38/1993 Coll. on the Organization of the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic, Proceedings Before it and the Position of its Judges as amended by Act of the National Council of the Slovak Republic No. 293/1995 Coll. (section 23)
Courts and Judges Act No. 335/1991 Coll. (section 7 paragraph 3)
Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport Decree No. 280/1991 Coll. concerning the completion of studies at secondary schools and the completion of preparation at apprentice schools as amended by later regulations (section 10).
33. Act of the National Council of the Slovak Republic No. 184/1999 Coll. on the Use of the Languages of the National Minorities
34. Government of the Slovak Republic Ordinance No. 221/1999 Coll.
The Constitution of the Slovak Republic enacts principles of equality and does not allow any form of discrimination against citizens. Citizens belonging to national minorities are above all equal citizens of the Slovak Republic. Everyone is given the right to freely choose his or her nationality, while any intervention into this decision and any forms of coercion aimed at assimilation are forbidden.3 The Slovak Republic's legislation guarantees citizens belonging to national minorities all rights to which the Slovak Republic has committed itself in relevant international and political documents. These rights can be applied either individually or in community with others.
Constitution of the Slovak Republic, Article 12:
(2) "Basic rights and freedoms on the territory of the Slovak Republic are guaranteed to everyone regardless of (...) affiliation to a nationality or ethnic group, (...). No one must be harmed, preferred or discriminated against on these grounds."
(3) "Everyone has the right to freely decide his nationality. Any influence on this decision and any form of coercion aimed at assimilation are prohibited."
Constitution of the SR, Article 24:
(2) "Everyone has the right to freely express his religion or faith on his own or together with others, privately or publicly, by means of divine and religious services, by observing religious rites, or by participating in the teaching of religion."
Constitution of the SR, Article 29:
(1) "The right to freely associate is guaranteed. Everyone has the right to associate with others in unions, societies, or other associations.
(2) Citizens have the right to establish political parties to associate in them..."
Constitution of the Slovak Republic, Article 30:
"Citizens have the right to participate in the administration of public affairs either directly or through the free election of their representatives."
(4) "Citizens have access to elected and other public posts under equal conditions."
Constitution of the Slovak Republic, Article 33:
"Membership of any national minority or ethnic group must not be to anyone's detriment."
Constitution of the Slovak Republic, Article 34:
"The comprehensive development of citizens representing national minorities or ethnic groups in the Slovak Republic is guaranteed, particularly the right to develop their own culture, together with other members of the minority or ethnic group, disseminate and receive information in their mother tongues, associate in minority associations, and the right to create and maintain educational and cultural institutions. Details shall be laid down by law.
In addition to the right to master the state language, citizens belonging to national minorities or ethnic groups are also guaranteed, under conditions defined by law, the following:
right to education in their own language,
right to use their language in official communication,
right to participate in addressing matters concerning national minorities and ethnic groups.
Constitution of the Slovak Republic, Article 35:
(1) "Everyone has the right to a free choice of profession and to training for it, as well as the right to engage in entrepreneurial or other gainful activity."
The Slovak Parliament approved on 22 February 2001 amended Constitution of the Slovak Republic, which contains new amendments, modifications and adjustments as well as establishes some new legal institutions. The Constitution becomes effective on 1 July 2001 except for some provisions, which will be effective from 1 January 2002. The establishment of the institution of ombudsman should be pointed out as one of the main amendments. The extend and the rules of procedure considering the work of ombudsman should be laid down by a relevant law.
According to the amended Constitution every international conventions on human rights and fundamental freedoms ratified by the Slovak Republic and proclaimed as requested by law take precedence over the national legal regulations. In addition to this, there are other important provisions, many of them with a view to creating better conditions for integration in the European Union and NATO.
On 10 July 1999, the Slovak Parliament adopted the Act on the Use of Minority Languages (see appendix No. 1). This Act No. 184 of 1999 came into effect on 1 September 1999. The main objective of this law is to lay down rules for the use of minority languages in official communications, including official communications in villages where a minority amounts to at least 20 per cent of the local population according to the latest census. On 25 August 1999, the Slovak Government adopted Regulation No. 221 of 1999, which provides a list of 656 villages where minorities amount to at least 20 per cent of local population. This Decree the list of the municipalities according to the Act No. 184/1999 Coll.: totally 656 consisting of 512 hungarian’s, 68 ruthenian’s, 57 romany’s, 18 ukrainian’s and 1 german municipality.There have been no complents or negative effects connected with the implementation of this Law untill now.
After 1989, requirements for the right to freedom of assembly, association, speech, thought and religion were among the most requested and most expected. It is therefore natural that they are also included in the Constitution of the SR, as the fundamental conditions and prerequisite for the proper functioning of a democratic society governed by the rule of law, which Slovakia undoubtedly is. These basic political rights and freedoms are strictly observed in the SR and no serious attempts to breach them have been recorded so far. These rights and freedoms are also relevant for the assembly and association of persons belonging to national minorities and are fully applied by them. National minorities in Slovakia have rich political, social, religious and cultural lives, which are developed within numerous and active political parties, churches, cultural organizations, associations and unions. These activities result in the enrichment of the whole society, the mutual recognition of cultures of different nations, tolerance, comprehension and understanding.
Act No. 424/1991 Coll. on Association in Political Parties and Political Movements:
section 1 (1) "Citizens have the right to associate in political parties and political movements. The exercise of this right serves citizens for their participation in political life, especially in the forming of legislative bodies and local self-government bodies."
National minorities in Slovakia are active in political, social, religious and cultural life within numerous political parties, churches, cultural organisations, associations and unions.
All citizens of the SR, including persons belonging the national minorities, are guaranteed the right to actively participate in the country's political life by the Constitution. For national minorities, this right is also secured through their active work in political parties based on the ethnic principle. Within the framework of the plural political system, along with other political parties, 23 national minority political parties are functioning in Slovakia. Of these, 4 political parties and movements associate citizens of Hungarian ethnic origin, 18 political parties and movements were established by citizens from the Romany minority - recently they have joint and have created one political union - and 1 political party associates citizens affiliated with Ruthenians and Ukrainians. The leaders of these entities reveal that, besides their basic goals, i.e. participation in the country's political life, particularly in the formation of the legislative body and local government bodies, they also aim to protect the rights and justified interests of the members of each minority.
3. Non-Governmental Organisations of National Minorities Registered at the Ministry of the Interior4
Approximately there are 760 non-governmental organisations (NGO) in Slovakia. This number fluctuates because some of them cease to exist while new NGOs are being established. These organisations carry out a wide range of training, informational, educational and publication activities. They are funded by sponsors and from the state fund PRO SLOVAKIA5.
Association of Citizens Act No. 83/1990 Coll.
section 1 (1) "Citizens have the right to associate freely."
section 2 (1) "Citizens can establish clubs, societies, unions, movements and other civic associations, as well as trade unions, and associate in them."
With regard to unions, societies, clubs, or various civic interest associations, 287 national minority associations operate in Slovakia. Of these, 90 were associations of citizens with a Hungarian ethnic background, 166 Romany, 20 Ruthenian or Ukrainian, 4 German, 2 Croatian, 2 Czech, 1 Polish, 1 Moravian and 1 association of citizens of Bulgarian ethnic origin.
Foundations Act No. 207/1996 Coll.:
section 2 (2) "Foundations are legal entities. State bodies may interfere with their status and activities only within the limits specified by law."
section 7 (1) "Foundations can be established by a physical person or legal person."
In line with the Policy Statement of the Government of the SR of 2 December 1998, the Ministry of Culture carried out some changes in support for minority cultures (particularly in the manner of provision of funds), with the aim of ensuring objectivity and transparency in the provision of financial resources to members of national minorities from the state budget.
In the Slovak Republic there are 26 foundations established by persons belonging to Hungarian nationality, 4 foundations of persons belonging to Roma minority and 2 foundations of persons belonging to Ukrainian national minority (see table No. 2).
3.3. Non-investment funds
Non-investment Funds Act No. 147/1997 Coll.:
section 3 (1) "Funds can be established by a physical person or legal person."
In the area of non-investment funds, 14 funds have been set up by members of the Hungarian national minority and 1 fund by members of the Romany minority.
3.4. Non-profit organisations
Act No. 213/1997 Coll. on Non-profit Organisations Providing Generally Beneficial Services:
section 5 (1) "Non-profit organisations can be established by a physical person or legal person."
In the sphere of non-profit organisations providing generally beneficial services, 1 non-profit organisation has been established by members of the Hungarian national minority and 1 organisation operates for members of the Romany minority.
4. Direct and effective participation6
As it was already mentioned above all citizens of the Slovak Republic, including persons belonging to national minorities, are guaranteed the right to actively participate in the country's political and public life by the Constitution of the Slovak Republic. For national minorities, this right is as well secured through their active work in political parties based on the ethnic principle. Members of the Hungarian minority have 15 political representatives in parliament (10%) and 3 ministers in the Government of the Slovak Republic. They are also represented in the leadership of the parliament through the Vice-Chairman of the Parliament, the Chairman of the Committee for Human Rights and National Minorities, the Chairman of the Committee for Finance, Budget and Currency, and the Vice-Chairman of the Healthcare Committee. Other MPs are members of other parliamentary committees.
The Hungarian national minority participates in the Government by holding the post of Deputy Prime Minister for Human Rights, Minorities and Regional Development, and the posts of Minister for the Environment and Minister of Construction and Public Works. Such representation is a practical example of the responsible approach of the Slovak government to the question of inclusion and effective participation of its citizens claiming other than the Slovak ethnic origin of their ancestors in governing processes in their country Slovakia.
Representatives of other national minorities are not present in the National Council of the Slovak Republic (Parliament) because their political parties did not manage to attain the prescribed number of votes necessary for entry into the Slovakia's legislative body (5%) after the last parliamentary elections. (There are no reserved seats for minorities. Seats are occupied according to civil principle.) However, national minorities are represented at the local level as a result of elections to local administration bodies.
In the 1998 elections to municipal self-government bodies, 227 representatives of the Hungarian national minority acquired the office of mayor – of which 224 were candidates for the Hungarian Coalition Party and 3 were candidates for the Hungarian People’s Movement for Reconciliation and Prosperity. 6 elected mayors were candidates for the Romany Civic Initiative in the Slovak Republic.
Total number of 3841 members of the Hungarian national minority were elected as members of municipal councils, of which 3773 were candidates for the Hungarian Coalition Party and 68 were candidates for the Hungarian People’s Movement for Reconciliation and Prosperity. 86 elected members of municipal councils were candidates from the Romany minority, of which 80 were candidates of the Romany Civic Initiative in the Slovak Republic, 4 were candidates of the Romany Christian Democratic Movement in the Slovak Republic and 2 of the Democratic Movement of Roma in the Slovak Republic.
Further persons belonging to national minorities have been elected as mayors and municipal council members as candidates of coalitions of various not ethnically based political parties.
At the state administration level, of the 79 heads of district offices, 7 heads of district are of Hungarian ethnic origin and 1 is of Ruthenian origin.
5. Institutional mechanism
Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights and National Minorities
Deputy Prime Minister for Human Rights, Minorities and Regional Development
Plenipotentiary of the Government of the Slovak Republic for Roma Affairs
The Institute of Ombudsman set out in the amended Constitution of the Slovak Republic
Governmental Council on National Minorities and Ethnic Groups
Section of the Human Rights and Minorities of the Office of the Government of the Slovak Republic
Section of the Minority Cultures of the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic
Department of National Minority Education of the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic
Slovak Commitee for Rights of Child
Department of Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic
Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights and National Minorities (1) - as mentioned above, the head of this Committee is a person belonging to national minority. When the session of this Committee has a public character, anybody can be present there. Moreover, the representatives of national minorities are invited to the sessions in which to discuss minority-related issues. That committee established as its advisory body The Commission on Roma minority rights, the members of this Commission are non-MPs.
Roma National Minority - Plenipotentiary of the Government of the Slovak Republic for Roma Affairs (3). Government of the Slovak Republic pays special attention to Roma national minority in Slovakia. There has been created the post of the Governmental Plenipotentiary for Roma Affairs. The Secretariat of the Plenipotentiary is part of the organisational structure of Office of the Government of the Slovak Republic. The Plenipotentiary completed the document entitled „Strategy of the Government of the Slovak Republic for the Solution of Problems of the Roma Minority and Set of Measures for Its Implementation - Stage 1“, which has been prepared in co-operation with Roma and non-Roma NGOs. This document was adopted by the Government in September 1999 as a key policy paper which sets the priorities in addressing the Roma issue at different levels. The document outlines systemic measures taken by the Government in such areas as education of Romanies, promotion of Roma language and culture, unemployment, housing, social welfare of and healthcare for the Roma population.
The document has been well received in Slovakia as well as abroad, notably by Roma organisations. This indicates that the Strategy is based on the right conceptual approach.
The Secretariat of the Plenipotentiary for Roma issues has been mapping problems faced by the Roma minority and co-operating with regional and district authorities. The Secretariat also organises meetings with professional working groups. Currently, the Secretariat is processing and evaluating approximately 600 projects aimed at improving the situation of the Roma community. The Secretariat also collects information about the conditions of applicants for asylum and assists in the repatriation of Roma to the Slovak Republic.
On 3 May 2000, the Slovak Government discussed and approved Resolution No. 294 adopting document "The Strategy of the Slovak Government to Address the Roma Issues and Related Set of Implementation Measures for 2000 – Phase II", which was prepared by the Plenipotentiary for Roma Issues in co-operation with all ministries, regional administration, Roma civil associations and non-governmental organisations. The document outlines the 2nd phase of the Government's strategy in dealing with Roma issues. It is a set of particular tasks designed to implement the strategy of the Government in this area, which were adopted in Phase 1 of the Strategy. The tasks and measures indicated in the document are a result of efforts "from the bottom". They can be considered as realistic as there are funds already allocated to their implementation. The tasks delegated to the Foreign Affairs Ministry relate to human rights activities, presentation of Slovakia's minorities policy positive results abroad, support to a common approach of the Council of Europe to the Roma issues in Europe, implementation commitments with regard to UN control bodies, dealing with the issue in the V-4 grouping, as well as support to the presentation of Roma ensembles abroad.
The 2000 state budget allocates funds to implement the above-mentioned set of measures. Such funds are part of funds allocated to ministries and regional state administration and will reflect a balance between the humane approach to the issue and funds available. Since 1989, this is the first document approved with funds allocated for its implementation. This approach makes the implementation of Government Resolution No. 821 of 8 September 1999 realistic and offers an opportunity to address these issues in an efficient way. The Strategy Phase II was allocated an amount of SKK 206 million. Let us mention a few examples of tasks to illustrate a wide range of measures envisaged by the Strategy Phase II: in the area of human rights - racially motivated crimes are to be investigated by specialist Police investigators; judges and civil servants are to undergo specialised training; the school system is to be modified to increase the success rate of Roma children and to put them on equal footing, specialised pre-school training is to be provided to Roma children in order to acquire necessary physical and mental skills (including language skills); in the area of housing – 920 flats are to be constructed in the Kosice region. The Plenipotentiary is responsible for the co-ordination of the above-mentioned measures. To make the Strategy a success, co-operation with Roma and non-Roma civil associations and non-governmental organisations is required.
Governmental Council on National Minorities and Ethnic Groups (5) - is an advisory body of the Government of the Slovak Republic regarding issues related to national minorities. The main functions of the Board are:
-to discuss and prepare its statements and reports on situation and conditions for living of the persons belonging to national minorities and ethnic groups and submit these statements to the Government,
- to propose and recommend the solving of the issues regarding to the persons belonging to the national minorities and ethnic groups to the Government,
- to prepare its statements to the drafts of the legal acts, which are in relation to the persons belonging to national minorities and submits these statements to the Government.
The members of the council are representatives of all eleven national minorities in Slovakia, the officials of state departments and the Commissioner of the Government of the Slovak Republic for the Roma Affairs. The head of the Council is Deputy Prime Minister for Human Rights, Minorities and Regional Development (2). The vice-chairman is a Minister of Culture.
There is one representative for every national minority living in Slovakia, except the Hungarians who have three representatives and the Romanies who have two representatives in the council. These representatives are chosen by unions, societies, clubs, or associations of national minorities on their own. For the sessions of the council is also invited one MP who is selected by the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and National Minorities and belongs to national minority.
Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic (7) - Minority Cultures Section, Expert Commission and Subcommissions for the Assessment of Minority Culture Projects
In the cultural sphere, members of national minorities participate in the decision-making process in matters related to them through advisory and executive bodies at the Ministry of Culture. The issue of national minority culture in the Slovak Republic primarily falls under the scope of the Ministry of Culture, which has established a special unit for this purpose – the Minority Cultures Section. The head of this Section is a person belonging to national minority.
Expert Commission and Subcommissions for the Assessment of Minority Culture Projects - was set up by the Minister of Culture. This commission consists of 19 representatives of national minorities with the following structure: 5 representatives of the Hungarian national minority, 3 representatives of the Romany minority, 2 representatives of the Bohemian national minority, and one representative of each the Ruthenian, Ukrainian, German, Croatian, Bulgarian, Polish, Jewish, Moravian and Russian.7 This commission's role is to determine the amount of finance from the total resources approved by the Parliament for the development of minority cultures and its division among 11 minority cultures (for the publication of periodical and non-periodical press and for the organisation of cultural activities)8. The expert commission may establish its sub-commissions to assess the particular projects for the development of relevant minority cultures and propose the amount of finance for selected projects (from the budget of the Ministry of Culture). For each national minority there was set out a special commission.
Ministry of Education - Department of National Minority Education (8)
In the sphere of education, members of national minorities participate in the decision-making process in matters related to them through the Department of National Minority Education at the Ministry of Education, which participate in the preparing of materials for the Governmental Board on National Minorities and Ethnic Groups and co-operates with this body.(5).
6. Inter-Governmental Commissions on National Minorities
1. Based on Treaty on Good Neighbourhood and Friendly Co-operation between Slovak Republic and Hungary Republic the Slovak - Hungarian Commission on National Minority was established. Among members of the Slovak part of this Commission are also persons belonging to Hungarian minority.
2. Based on Treaty on Good Neighbourhood, Friendly Relations and Co-operation between Slovak Republic and Ukraine the Slovak - Ukrainian Commission on National Minorities, School, Cultural and Scientific Relations was established. Member of the Slovak part of the Commission is also a representative of the Ukrainian minority living in Slovakia.
3. Based on Treaty between the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany on Good Neighborliness and Friendly Co-operation - German Commission for the Issues of Bilateral Co-operation in the area of Culture, Education and Science was established.
Relevant International Commitments and the Oversight Mechanism
The commitments of the Slovak Republic in this area arise in particular from the following international norms.
1. Copenhagen Document of the Conference on European Security and Co-operation of 1990
UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities of 1992
3. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Culrural Rights of 1966
International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination of 1965
Framework Convention of the Council of Europe for the Protection of National Minorities of 1995
Treaty on Good Neighborliness and Friendly Co-operation between the Slovak Republic and the Republic of Hungary of 1995 (Recommendation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe No. 1201 forms a part of this Treaty)
Treaty between the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic and the Republic of Poland on Good Neighborliness, Solidarity and Friendly Co-operation of 1991
Treaty between the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany on Good Neighborliness and Friendly Co-operation
10. Treaty between the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic on Good Neighborliness, Friendly Relations and Co-operation
11. Treaty on Good Neighborliness, Friendly Relations and Co-operation between the Slovak Republic and the Ukraine
On 17. January 2001 the Government of the Slovak Republic approved the signature of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and the Charter was signed, in the name of the Slovak Republic, on 20 February 2001 in the seat of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
The Charter is an international framework treaty, which was adopted by the Council of Europe, aimed at the protection and promotion of regional or minority languages in the scope of education, judicial authorities, administrative authorities and public services, media, culture, economic and social life and transfrontier exchanges. Slovak Republic has chosen 9 languages, considering them regional and minority languages: Bulgarian, Czech, Croatian, Hungarian, German, Polish, Roma language, Ruthenian and Ukrainian, according to the article 3, paragraph 1 of the Charter.9
The Slovak Government also has established the Council of the Slovak Republic´s Government on National Minorities and Ethnic Groups as a consultative body for issues of the Charter.
The Slovak Republic as a State party to the Framework Convention of the Council of Europe for the Protection of National Minorities submitted the Report on the Implementation of mentioned convention in the Slovak Republic to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 4 May 1999, later the Slovak Republic submitted the Reply of the Slovak Republic to the list of questions submitted by the Advisory Committee of the framework convention. The Advisory Committee visited the Slovak Republic from 28 February to 2 March 2000. On 22 September 2000 the Advisory Committee adopted the Opinion on Slovakia10, which is now in the process of consideration in the Committee of Ministers.
The Council of Europe decided to finish the monitoring of the Slovak Republic in the field of human rights and in the concerned Council of Europe report in September 1999 described the Slovak Republic as a democratic and safe country without any discrimination of national minorities. The Committee on Monitoring of the Council of Europe iniciated the beginning of the post-monitoring dialogue with the Slovak Republic in Dcember 2001.
The Slovak Republic signed on 4 November 2000 in Rome the Protocol No.12 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which contains general anti-discrimination clausule.