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Equality Body

The body designated for the promotion of equal treatment is the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights. According to the Anti-discrimination  Act, the Centre is an independent, non-judicial body, subsidised mainly throughthe state budget. The role and tasks of the Centre are quite complex.

The Centre is empowered to prepare expert opinions on compliance with the principle of equal treatment on request from natural persons or legal entities or on its own initiative. The Centre is obliged to monitor and evaluate the observance ofhuman rights and of equal treatment and to collect and provide information on racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism, as well asto carry out independent probes concerning discrimination. More generally, the Centre is obliged to conduct research and surveys for the purpose of providing data in the field of human rights. The Centre is also required to secure legal aid to persons affected by discrimination under the Anti-discrimination Act and is empowered to represent the discriminated persons in courts, and also to file an actio popularis (an anti-discriminatory lawsuit in public interest). As the Centre is competent to act in cases of discrimination defined by the Anti-discrimination Act, it works on all grounds defined by the Anti-discrimination Act.

The Centre also annually publishes a report on the observance human rights including the principle of equal treatment in the previous year in Slovakia, and is also obliged to draft and publish reports and recommendations on issues connected to discrimination. A significant enlargement of the reach of the Centre was carried out in 2007. Seven regional branches of the Centre were created in order to operate more effectively in all regions of Slovakia.

There are not enough resourcematerials, reports or independent monitoring and evaluations that would make it possible to draw a comprehensive picture about the quality and independence of the work of the Centre. The only available sources of information are basically the reports issued by the Centre about its own activities, and some fragmented pieces of their work published on their website. From the existing sources it seems that the Centre does not represent the victims in court proceedings very often and takes rather a consultative role and/or provides expert opinions.[1]An evaluation of the performance of the Centre is being carried out by the Office of the Government of the Slovak Republic at the moment (March 2011) and should be completed by the end of April 2011.

See also: http://www.equineteurope.org/342_2.html