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Slovakia 2022

Discrimination against Roma persisted. Parliamentarians attempted to adopt amendments that would restrict access to abortion. Human rights violations were committed against Ukrainians. Access to healthcare for transgender people was limited.


The term of the Public Defender of Rights, Mária Patakyová, expired in March and the National Council failed to elect her successor until 1 December, when Róbert Dobrovodský was appointed. In the meantime, the backlog of complaints from the public about human rights violations increased month by month.


The authorities subjected Roma to widespread discrimination.

Right to education

Slovakia continued to face legal proceedings by the European Commission regarding its systematic discrimination against Roma children in education, including segregation.

Right to housing

The government made no effort to improve the living conditions of thousands of Roma people living in informal settlements and segregated neighbourhoods across Slovakia. In July, Younous Omarjee, a member of the European Parliament, visited a Roma settlement in the village of Petrovce nad Laborcom and said: “It is a shame for Slovakia and a shame for Europe that some Roma live in medieval conditions.”

Excessive and unnecessary use of force

In June, the Slovak government apologized for a police raid on Roma communities in the town of Moldava nad Bodvou in 2013 and committed to paying financial compensation for “injustice and suffering, to the victims and their families for their long-term search for the truth.”

Sexual and reproductive rights

Despite an official apology by the government in 2021 for the illegal sterilization of thousands of Roma women between 1966 and 2004, no effective compensation mechanism was in place by the end of 2022.

Three different amendments were introduced in April by parliamentarians to ban abortion, with the stated aim of targeting so-called “abortion tourism” despite reports of widespread sexual violence against Ukrainian girls and women during the war in Ukraine. However, none of these amendments became law. This was the 20th legislative initiative in the past two years to limit access to safe and legal abortion.

Women’s rights

By the end of the year, Slovakia had made no progress towards ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention).

Refugees’ and migrants’ rights

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine on 24 February, Slovakia received and provided immediate care for more than 1,068,000 Ukrainians, and more than 104,000 registered for temporary protection in the country. This contrasted with a hostile immigration policy and lack of support for refugees from other countries coming to Europe since 2015, as well as anti-immigration rhetoric and policies of the Slovak authorities and top political leaders.

Following the invasion, several human rights organizations as well as the Public Defender of Rights drew attention to insufficient protection of the rights of vulnerable groups from Ukraine, especially third country nationals, unaccompanied minors, Roma people and transgender people. Human rights violations against the latter included verbal abuse by the armed forces of both Ukraine and Slovakia at the Ukrainian-Slovakian border.

LGBTI people’s rights

Same-sex marriage and registered civil partnership were not yet legally recognized.

On 12 October, two people died and one was injured in a shooting in the Tepláreň gay bar in the capital, Bratislava. After a brief manhunt, the police identified the perpetrator, a 19-year-old man who had posted an anti-LGBTI and antisemitic manifesto on Twitter just before the attack. He was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to police.

Right to health

The arrival of transgender people from Ukraine highlighted the poor quality of healthcare services provided for them in Slovakia. Organizations dedicated to support and counselling for people fleeing Ukraine recommended that transgender refugees leave Slovakia for countries with existing adequate healthcare for transgender people. In April, the Ministry of Health issued guidelines on standardization of healthcare procedures for gender reassignment; these do not include sterilization and/or castration as a mandatory requirement for obtaining medical approval for medical transition. The release of these guidelines was followed by a backlash, and discriminatory statements by some parliamentarians. On 18 May the guidelines were suspended.

In December 2022, a group of medical professionals and psychologists signed a “Statement of psychiatrists, psychologists and other experts on transsexualism”, condemning the proposed guidelines on standardizing healthcare procedures for gender affirmative healthcare.