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Parkov 4, 931 01 amorn, Slovakia


Phone +421-31-590 27 90
Fax +421-31-560 27 12
E-mail: info@kerekasztal.org
Web: www.kerekasztal.org, www.jogsegely.sk
Written Comments by the Roundtable of Hungarians
in Slovakia (RHS)
on the Fourth Report submitted on 28 January 2014
by Slovakia on the implementation
of the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities for
consideration by the Council of Europes
Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention
Drafted by: Jnos Fiala-Butora
Somorja amorn, 30 July 2014
Questions and comments are welcome on the address info@kerekasztal.org.
The Roundtable of Hungarians in Slovakia (RHS) is an umbrella organization of 128 non-
governmental organizations active in the field of advocacy, culture, education, and linguistic
rights of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia. The RHS represents the Hungarian communitys
views vis--vis state bodies and the general public. It has developed and adopted its own
proposals of laws on the use of minority languages, financing of minority cultures, and minority
self-governments. It also submitted comments on governmental proposals related to these areas.
The RHS welcomes the Slovak Governments Fourth Report on the Implementation of the
Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities submitted to the Council of
Europes Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention.
The RHS welcomes the opportunity to submit its comments on the Governments report, and will
be happy to provide clarification and answers to any questions. We are looking forward to serve the
Advisory Committee with comments and submissions in the future.
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The following comments address issues raised in the Slovak Governments report. They are
structured according to the Articles of the Framework Convention, except part I. These comments
are in no way comprehensive, and a lack of response to some of the Governments statements
should not indicate their acceptance or endorsements. Simply for the sake of brevity we
concentrated on questions that seemed to be the most important, or where the most relevant recent
developments have taken place.
Contents
I. Comments on the balance between language laws...3
II. Article 3 census results and assimilation...5
III. Article 4 discrimination in the economic sphere..7
IV. Article 5 maintaining and developing culture10
V. Article 6 spirit of tolerance..15
VI. Article 7 freedom of association22
VII. Article 9 media in minority languages..23
VIII. Article 10 the use of minority languages.26
IX. Article 11 signs in minority languages...37
X. Article 12 access to textbooks..52
XI. Article 14 right to education...53
XII. Article 15 Effective participation in public affaires..56
XIII. Article 16 altering the proportion of the population59
Appendices...60
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I. Comments on the balance between language laws
1. Legislation on language use is an overarching theme of this report, because it has
implications for a number of articles of the FCNM. The details of how the Slovak language
laws affect specific areas, particularly the use of minority languages in public administration,
are addressed in the respective parts of this shadow report. It is, however, important to
address the general question of reaching a fair balance between the promotion of the state
language and protecting minority languages. The Government addresses this issue early on in
its report (paras. 26-46), and it raises questions not mentioned elsewhere.
2. The Government claims that with the 2011 amendment of the State Language Act and the
Act on the Use of Languages of National Minorities, an appropriate balance has been
reached between the promotion of the state language and the right to use minority languages.
We respectfully disagree.
3. According to the Constitution and the State Language Act, the Slovak language is the state
language and it enjoys primacy over other languages. Slovak can be used by any citizens in
all spheres of life on the whole territory of the country. The possibility to use a minority
language is much more limited, as this report shows in detail.
4. It is important to understand that since World War II, Slovakia has been governed as a
unilingual country. Everybody had to learn Slovak, and the public administrations working
language has been Slovak. Minority languages were not used in official communication, they
could only be used informally in oral communication between persons who knew about each
others linguistic skills. Hungarian has not been taught in Slovak schools, nor was learning it
encouraged in any other way. Slovaks therefore rarely spoke it, and the Slovak language has
become a default language of communication between Hungarians and Slovaks, and between
persons who do not know each other.
5. The adoption of the State Language Act in 1995 did not have to ensure that Slovak could be
used in official communication. That had already been a reality. Its main purpose was to
suppress communication in Hungarian between Hungarians themselves, and reduce the
possibility that Slovaks would encounter Hungarian signs and speech. This was underlined
with an anti-Hungarian rhetoric, degrading the Hungarian language and portraying it as a
threat to the Slovak nation and the integrity of the state.
6. These repressive laws, and the rhetoric surrounding it, are still in force today. While Slovak
can be used as a matter of right, with a corresponding obligation on state bodies and their
employees to communicate in it, there is no obligation on the bodies or persons a citizen
communicates with to know and use Hungarian. The citizens right is therefore an empty
one: the state body has a right not to communicate in Hungarian with him or her.
Essentially, the right to use a minority language simply means that in some instances the
use of the language is not prohibited, but the state makes no effort to ensure that in fact it can
be made use of. A stark contrast with Slovak, the use of which is an enforceable right. Even
this non-prohibition of minority languages is much narrower in scope than the right to use
Slovak. The regulation is fragmented and incomprehensible, making it difficult for citizens
to access it.
7. No amendment has changed significantly the existing legal landscape since 1995, and the
ones in 2011 were no exception. For the comprehensive right to use Slovak, a corresponding
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but weaker and often empty right to use a minority language was created in some areas,
which did not improve the legal landscape, and had affected the practice even less.
8. Minority languages would need meaningful support from the state to achieve a status
corresponding to their demographic presence. The role of legislation should be to codify
such support in a clear, accessible way. None of that has taken place in the reported period.
On the contrary, the language laws are still full of restrictive provisions, for which other
bodies have criticised Slovakia as well.
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It is therefore impossible to talk about a balance
between promotion of the state language and protection of minority language in Slovakia.
1
See for example Opinion no. 555/2009 of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice
Commission) on the Act on the State Language of the Slovak Republic, CDL-AD(2010)035, Adopted by the
Venice Commission At its 84th Plenary Session (Venice, 15-16 October 2010).
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II. Article 3 census results and assimilation
i) Assimilation
9. According to the 2011 census, the Hungarian minority numbers 458 467 persons in Slovakia.
That is a loss of 62 061 persons compared to 2001, and 108 829 compared to 1991. In 20
years, the Hungarian population lost 19 per cent of its members, and its proportion on the
whole population fell from 10,8 per cent to 8,5 per cent. That is a radical drop, which has
alarmed many Hungarians, politicians, citizens and civil society alike. Although census
figures should not be taken out of their context, the tendency is clear.
10. Contrary to claims of state representatives, there is nothing natural in this alarming
tendency. According to sociological studies, more than half of the loss can be attributed to
assimilation: persons declaring a Hungarian ethnicity in the past chose at one point to declare
themselves as Slovak. This is common especially among Hungarian children studying in
Slovak schools: by the time their reach adulthood, 95 per cent even of those, whose both
parents are Hungarian, become Slovak. The proportion is higher among pupils studying in
Slovak schools and raised in mixed marriages. On overall, irrespective of the school they
study in, 80 per cent of children born in mixed marriages grow up as Slovaks, even though
many of these families live in areas where Hungarians are the majority. The natural
outcome would be 50 per cent. That is, if the state guaranteed equal chances for freely
choosing a Slovak and Hungarian ethnicity, without disadvantage.
11. A systemic policy of the last two decades has been to advantage Slovaks rhetorically, in
legislation, in education, in the political and the economic sphere. Of course, different
governments had different attitudes towards the issue, but even those in which Hungarian
parties participated failed to abolish the restrictive laws and improve the social, economic
and linguistic conditions of Hungarians.
12. This report provides several examples of how the free enjoyment of Hungarian identity has
been curtailed by the state. Anti-Hungarian rhetoric went hand in hand with economic
discrimination of Hungarian-populated regions, repressive laws on language use were joined
with attacks on the Hungarian education system.
13. The Government explains in para 207 of its report that most elementary schools teaching
one of the languages of national minorities see a lower interest of parents and children in
such teaching. The reason for that is an insufficient application of the national minority
language in everyday life and practice. That is certainly true. This report shows how the
state ensures that minority languages have insufficient application in daily life.
14. Declaring ones identity is a personal choice. The conditions in which this choice is made,
however, are heavily influenced by the state. The decrease in the number of Hungarians is a
testimony to the conditions Slovakia has created for declaring a Hungarian ethnicity. We
consider this an overarching question of this report, and the issue of most fundamental
concern to Hungarians in Slovakia. Assimilation has a potential to further limit their
opportunity to exercise their culture and language, leading to further lowering their numbers
in a vicious circle, eventually destroying the community.
ii) The 2011 Census
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15. Connected more specifically to the census of 2011, we submit that contrary to suggestions of
Hungarian civil society, it was not possible to declare multiple ethnicity on the census. Many
persons with double or triple affiliations were thus forced to choose only one of them. The
census could have also establish what languages residents speak and on what level. Instead,
the census asked only about the most frequently used language, which is a very unclear and
uninformative question. Most Hungarians use both Hungarian and Slovak frequently, but in
different areas: one at home, the other at work, for example. There is no point in comparing
them. Two languages, however, could not be declared on the census.
16. Because of the large number of persons with unidentified ethnicity on the census, it is hard to
tell how many Hungarians actually there are in the country. According to detailed
sociological studies based on local census data, persons with Hungarians ethnicity currently
number 511 thousand in the country, 60 thousand of whom are of Roma origin.
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17. At the time of the census, the media reported about several incidents in Nov Zmky
rsekjvr.
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Slovak nationalists threatened Hungarian residents, mostly older people, that if
they declare a Hungarian ethnicity on the census they will lose their Slovak citizenship and
will be deported to Hungary. Several such incidents were confirmed by residents,
nevertheless the authorities rejected complaints for lack of evidence.
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Anti-Hungarian and
anti-Jewish graffiti also appeared at the time of the census on several houses in the town.
2
Ravasz bel, Szlovkiai magyarok s a 2011-es npszmlls: mrleg s elemzs, 2012.
3
http://www.bumm.sk/56110/cikk.html
4
http://www.hirek.sk/belfold/20110601181234/Nincs-bizonyitek-a-megfelemlitesre.html
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III. Article 4 discrimination in the economic sphere
18. The Governments report concentrates on the situation of the Roma minority in the economic
sphere. The Romas position is indeed a cause for serious concern. However, the
discrimination against Hungarians is also a serious issue, which has been overlooked for
many years. It most typically takes the form of discriminating against regions populated by
Hungarians in financial schemes at the central governments disposal to allocate funds to the
regions for infrastructure and economic development.
19. As a result of this discrimination, Southern Slovakia has become (together with the North-
East) the least economically developed region of the country since 1992. In 2014, the two
districts with the highest unemployment rate were from the bilingual regions of South
Slovakia, as well as 3 district out of 5, and 6 districts out of 10 with the highest
unemployment rate (1. Rimavsk Sobota - Rimaszombat, 2. Revca Nagyrce, 5. Roava
- Rozsn, 7. Vek Krt - Nagykrts, 8. Trebiov - Tketerebes, 9. Luenec Losonc).
This rating does not take into account that districts are ethnically mixed. Even among the
least developed districts of Southern Slovakia, the regions where Hungarian municipalities
are located are disadvantaged compared to northern parts of the districts with Slovak
municipalities.
20. A highly symbolic step in this regard was taken in June 2012 by the newly appointed Fico
Government. The government allocated 3 million Euros as relief for the 3 districts with the
highest unemployment rate, Rimavsk Sobota - Rimaszombat, Revca Nagyrce and
Poltr. Although there are many Hungarian municipalities in the first two districts, none of
them received anything from the aid all of it was allocated to Slovak municipalities north
of the ethnic border, apart from the district town Rimavsk Sobota Rimaszombat which is
itself a bilingual town (see appendix 1).
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21. The infrastructure in Southern Slovakia is severely underfinanced. The countrys highways,
eventually connecting Bratislava and Kosice, the two largest cities, are all built in the north,
although the terrain is more difficult and the costs are higher there. All previous governments
supported this decision. As a consolation, a fast road, R7 was promised to be built in South
Slovakia, but it has never been a priority. The commencement of construction works on R7
are periodically cancelled by every government. The project was cancelled last time in
January 2013.
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22. Slovakias Integrated Infrastructure Operative Program for the EU fiscal period 2014-2020 is
heavily biased in favour of Northern Slovakia: no southern infrastructure projects are among
the priorities. The program does not even mention the R7 fast road. The Programs overall
budget is 4,75 billion Euros, or 888 Euros per citizen.
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23. The state of regional and local roads in South Slovakia is also deplorable. These are financed
by Regional Self-Governments, in which Hungarians are in a minority everywhere, and they
receive an inadequate proportion of the funds for repairing roads. In the Trnava region, for
example, where the Dunajsk Streda Dunaszerdahely and Galanta Galnta districts are
located, the police and the media noticed that a disproportionately higher number of fatal
road accidents take place in these two southern districts because of the condition of the
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http://index.hu/kulfold/2012/07/04/nem_jutott_penz_a_del-szlovakiai_magyar_falvaknak/
6
http://farkasivan.blog.hu/2013/07/23/ujra_megrekedt_az_r7-es_deli_gyorsforgalmi_ut
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http://farkasivan.blog.hu/2014/04/17/a_kozlekedesi_infrastruktura_fejlesztese_ujra_eszakra_oszpontosul
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roads.
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After the regional elections in 2014, the Fico government allocated an extra 2,05
million Euros to the region for repairing roads. However, none of the sum was allocated to
projects in the two southern districts.
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24. The state of railways of local significance is also a matter for concern. In 2013, the
government announced that some local railway lines will be abolished because they are not
profitable. The lines Levice-trovo (Lva-Prkny) and ahy-ata (Ipolysg-Csata),
located in Hungarian-speaking areas, were on the top of the list. However, as it turned out
from the Railways own statistics, the Levice-trovo line is profitable, and the ahy-ata
one has the lowest losses from all unprofitable lines.
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They are both used heavily by
passengers, because there is no alternative bus connection between these towns.
25. The real reason for eliminating these lines is not their lack of profitability. They simply
became a collateral loss of the growing demands of public transportation in Bratislava. The
government orders transport capacities from the Slovak Railways. Because there is an overall
budget limit of how much it can order, the increase in Bratislava had to be compensated by
decrease elsewhere. The decision to single out the two above mentioned rail lines had been a
political one: because they go through Hungarian regions, they are mostly utilized by
Hungarians, who are politically defenceless against such a step.
26. Since 2013, the number of trains servicing these two lines had been reduced, and trains
which had been most heavily utilized by passengers had been cancelled. Conductors
servicing the lines stated that they feel the Ministry is trying to purposefully make the lines
non-profitable in order to justify their elimination.
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27. The Radiov government supported several projects to create workplaces in regions with
high unemployment. From the 1674 workplaces created with this support, however, only 100
were in South Slovakia, in Roava Rozsny.
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28. The Fico government supported several large industrial complexes job-preservation
programs with direct government support and tax allowances. None of these companies were
located in South Slovakia.
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29. Since 2002, the government has been supporting foreign direct investments creating
workplaces with economic incentives. In the period of 2002-2012, 1,4 billion Euros were
allocated to projects creating 45 thousand jobs. A miniscule proportion of these funds were
allocated to investments in Southern Slovakia.
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The North-West and North of the country
received the highest support.
30. A project of Pro Civis association evaluated the support allocated to regional development by
the government in the EUs 2007-2013 fiscal period. Districts in Southern Slovakia received
the smallest proportion of funds according to the study.
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Further analysis needs to uncover
8
http://auto.sme.sk/c/7056488/cesty-smrti-su-na-juhu-okolo-dunajskej-stredy.html
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http://www.parameter.sk/rovat/belfold/2014/03/05/2-millio-euroval-tamogatjak-ficoek-nagyszombat-megye-
utfelujitasait-de
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http://farkasivan.blog.hu/2013/05/09/a_kozlekedesi_tarca_terve_es_ervelese_felettebb_aggalyos
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http://farkasivan.blog.hu/2013/07/26/folytatjuk_kuzdelmunket_a_vasuti_szarnyvonalak_megmenteseert
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http://www.mkp.sk/node/17602
13
http://www.parameter.sk/blog/solymos-laszlo/2013/07/31/konnyu-masebol-osztogatni
14
http://ekonomika.sme.sk/c/6664445/vlada-meni-pravidla-pre-stimuly-pozrite-sa-kto-ich-za-10-rokov-dostal.html
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http://www.onkormanyzas.sk/figyelo151.html
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whether Hungarian municipalities compared to Slovak municipalities within these Southern
districts received an equal share of funds.
31. Another frequent clash between Hungarians and the central government is the question of
agricultural policy. The countrys geography determines its agricultural landscape: the South
is flat and fertile, with intensive agriculture; the North is mountainous, with less fertile soil.
Despite this, the states agricultural policy advantages farmers in the North. They receive
much more per capita support than Southern farmers.
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32. After the presidential elections in 2014, the government changed the rules of water
consumption as well, raising the price of water used for irrigation.
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Irrigation is typical for
agriculture in the South, it is negligible in the North. Hungarian MPs considered this a clear
act of vengeance for Hungarian voters support to Prime Minister Ficos opponent, Andrej
Kiska, in the second round of presidential elections.
33. Concerning private economic activities, the Ministry of Culture considers it a pressure on
Slovaks if a person is employed because of his knowledge of the Hungarian language even
though this might be required by the position (see para. 65 below). On the other hand,
companies were recorded to advertise positions to persons with Slovak mother tongue.
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This
is a clear discrimination against Hungarians. Linguistic skills are sometimes part of genuine
occupational requirements, a legal defence against the claim of discrimination. There is,
however, no reason for an employee to have the given language as his or her mother tongue.
Many Hungarians speak Slovak completely fluently, in fact indistinguishably from Slovaks
yet it is not their mother tongue.
34. The economic problems of South Slovakia have not been caused by the current government.
They are a result of systemic neglect started during the Communist Era, and amplified since
the country became independent in 1993. All Slovak governments, however, contributed to
it. Southern Slovakias regions have been discriminated against in infrastructure
development, regional development, investment support, job creation programs, and
agricultural policy. These programs are financed from the national budget, which means the
funds come also from Hungarians tax contributions. Yet despite the fact that they live in the
least economically developed areas, Hungarians are financing the economic development of
other regions of the country. If demands for autonomy will be rising in the future, they are
very likely to be fuelled by economic claims, as the situation is one of serious concern.
16
http://farkasivan.blog.hu/2014/03/19/a_mezogadasagi_tamogatasok_rendszere_alapos_modositasra_szorul
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http://www.bumm.sk/96807/csicsai-gabor-a-vizugyi-torveny-fico-bosszuja-kiskaert.html
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http://www.bumm.sk/89890/magyarokat-diszkriminalo-allashirdetesek.html
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IV. Article 5 maintaining and developing culture
i) Support to minority culture
35. As it is customary in such reports, the Government provides figures about how much it
spends on supporting minority cultures, how many events and publications have taken place,
and so on. This information is, however, of little relevance if it is not shown in its proper
context. The financial support to minority cultures is an integral part of the general system of
support to culture in Slovakia. The state does not support cultural activities out of good will,
but merely redistributes citizens tax money to these activities. It would be therefore
important to contrast the support to minority cultural activities with the overall support
provided to cultural activities by the state. Comparing these numbers it would be evident that
the state heavily underfinances minority culture compared to majority cultural activities.
36. The support to minority culture is also declining in absolute numbers. The Governments
report in Table 15 on page 46 shows that in 2012, 4,5 million Euros were allocated, while in
2013 only 4,25 million Euros. In 2014, according to the information on the Government
Offices website, the sum was further reduced to 3 829 250 Euros!
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There was no recession
in Slovakia at the time, therefore this reduction is unacceptable.
37. Even more serious, however, is the discrimination against various minority groups.
Hungarians, who make up two thirds of the whole minority population, received 58 per cent
of the whole support in 2011, 55 per cent in 2012, 61 per cent in 2013, and only 51.7 per
cent, or 1 983 057 Euros in 2014. There are also significant disparities among smaller
minorities. The per capita support to various groups in 2014 is the following:
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Bulgarians 32,56 Euros
Czechs 6,78 Euros
Croatians 48,31 Euros
Hungarians 4,33 Euros
Moravians 8,49 Euros
Germans 20,60 Euros
Poles 20,12 Euros
Roma 6,00 Euros
Ruthenians 7,87 Euros
Russians 25,67 Euros
Serbians 39,69 Euros
Ukrainians 14,55 Euros
Jews 88,03 Euros
38. It is evident form these statistics that some minorities are more favoured than others. It can
be acceptable if smaller minority groups receive a somewhat higher per capita support than
larger ones. However, the resulting differences are astonishing. Nothing justifies the 20 times
higher per capita sums awarded to the Jewish minority or the 11 times higher sum awarded
to Croatians compared to Hungarians. In absolute sums, Croatians received almost twice as
19
http://www.narodnostnemensiny.gov.sk/informacia-o-rozdeleni-financnych-prostriedkov-pre-program-kultura-
narodnostnych-mensin-2014/
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Figures of support - Id., minority population:
http://www.narodnostnemensiny.gov.sk/data/files/4852_narodnostne-mensiny-a-etnicke-skupiny-zijuce-na-uzemi-
slovenskej-republiky_.pdf.
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much support as the more than three times more numerous Moravians. Moravians are
slightly more numerous than Poles, but they received less than half the sum awarded to
Poles. Hungarians received the lowest per capita sum. It is commonly thought that this was
an act of revenge by the government, with whom Hungarians had tense relationship in the
last years.
39. Sums are allocated for the support of minority culture every year on the basis of a political
decision of the Government Office. This provides the Government with an important tool to
pressure various minority groups, respectively buy off smaller ones and use them against the
larger ones and against each other. We submit that there is no reason for this practice to
continue: the method of allocating the sums should be regulated by law, which would specify
what percentage of the overall state support to culture should be allocated to minority
cultures, and how that should be divided among various minority communities.
40. Apart from the decrease in sums, the method of their allocation to individual projects has
also been very problematic in the relevant period. In 2011, decisions about project
applications were taken very late in the year, and the sums themselves were transferred only
at the very end of the year, or even in the beginning of 2012. This means that activities that
took place in the course of the year of 2011 had to be financed by the organizations without
them knowing whether they would be eventually paid by the government, and even in the
case of a positive decision they had to credit the activities for several months. Many
organizations experienced extreme financial hardship, they had to cancel events and
activities, laid off staff, and some of them got close to bankruptcy.
41. The situation in 2012 did not improve. In 2013, the decisions were taken somewhat earlier,
but it is still far from satisfactory. Since these sums are meant to cover activities across the
whole year, decisions should be made and funds transferred at the beginning of the year.
42. Another serious concern related to project applications lies in the fact that the Government
Office can decide which projects should be successful and how large sum they should
receive. For all minority communities, advisory commissions for evaluating project
applications are set up. These, however, are appointed by the Government Office, not elected
by the minority communities themselves. Moreover, the commissions do not make decisions,
only recommendations, which can be overruled without cause by the Government Office.
For these reasons, the decisions are heavily politically influenced.
43. In fact, the Deputy Prime Minister for Human Rights and the Government Plenipotentiary
for National Minorities have used this power very widely in 2011-12 and 2013, respectively.
The Plenipotentiary himself acknowledged in an interview that he used his power as a tool of
political oppression: he reduced sums allocated by the commission to newspapers that he did
not like because they had criticized him in the past.
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44. We consider that the basic problem of supporting minority cultures is that there is still no
legislation regulating this area. Only if the law established clear rules and procedures of
allocating sums to minorities and deciding about individual projects, could political pressures
and manipulation be avoided. Several drafts have circulated in the last few years. In the
opinion of the Roundtable of Hungarians in Slovakia, such a Law on Supporting Minority
21
http://www.maszol.ro/index.php/kulfold/3096-a-tavalyinal-tobb-penzbol-kevesebb-allami-tamogatast-kapott-a-
felvideki-magyar-sajto.
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Culture should satisfy at least 5 criteria to be effective in depoliticizing the financing of
minority cultures:
a. The law has to specify the formula according to which the sum allocated to
minority cultures is established every year from the overall sum allocated by the
state to financing culture
b. The law has to specify the formula according to which sums are allocated to
individual minority communities every year
c. The above two rules should not apply only to support from the central
government, but also to regional self-governments and with some simplification,
local self-governments. Regional self-governments support cultural activities with
a sum comparable to the central government, yet their systems are even less
transparent than that of the central government.
d. Decisions about supporting individual projects should be made by commissions
elected by the minority communities themselves, not appointed by state bodies
e. The decisions of these commissions should be binding and final. Alternatively, if
a state body has power to overrule a decision, it should be used only exceptionally
and for a cause established by law.
ii) The fate of Ifj Szvek Young Hearts
45. The Government in para. 110 states that the Government Office has established the
Hungarian artistic ensemble Ifj Szvek Young Hearts as an allowance organization. This
statement is somewhat misleading: Ifj Szvek has existed for decades, it is one of the most
important and internationally successful cultural organizations of Hungarians in Slovakia. In
the reported period it was not established, it was merely transferred from the supervision of
the Ministry of Culture to the Government Office, which means that the Government Office
exercises the rights of the founder.
46. Shortly after the Government Plenipotentiary for National Minorities has resigned in June
2013, Ifj Szvek became a target of political revenge. Its director, Dusn Hgli, was
dismissed by the Government Office based on fabricated reasons.
22
They cited non-
compliance with administrative duties, but later it turned out that it had been exactly the
previous orders of the Government Office which had led to the alleged non-compliance.
Dusn Hgli was a close colleague of the resigned Plenipotentiary, and also a long-term and
widely appraised and successful director of Ifj Szvek.
47. The Government Office announced a competition for the directors position, which was won
again by Dusn Hgli. Instead of appointing him, the Government Office cancelled the
results of the competition, and announced a new one, which was unsuccessful. Ifj Szveks
director, Lszl Varsnyi, was finally appointed as a result of the third competition on 30
June 2014.
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iii) Language use in cultural events
48. One of the most absurd provisions of the State Language Act, 5(7), states that cultural and
educational events have to take place in Slovak, except the cultural events of national
22
http://www.kerekasztal.org/sk/2013/07/nepochopitelne-odvolanie-riaditela-tanecneho-divadla-mlade-
srdcia/#sthash.RdksRCOO.dpuf.
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http://ujszo.com/online/kozelet/2014/07/02/varsanyi-laszlo-lett-az-ifju-szivek-igazgatoja
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minorities and visiting foreign artists, educational events oriented at learning a foreign
language, and drama and literature presentations with a foreign text.
49. It is unclear what is a cultural event of a national minority. Most cultural events do not
have a target group specified on the basis of ethnicity. In any case, if an event is not a
minority cultural event, but oriented at a mixed audience, according to the law it cannot be
held in a minority or other language, it must be held in Slovak. That reveals a very bizarre
logic: cultural events can be held in a minority language only if they are oriented only at
minority members. If they want to attract Slovak audience as well, they have to be held in
Slovak. The purpose of this provision is allegedly to foster cross-cultural communication. Its
unstated assumption is that it is derogatory and insulting for Slovaks to listen to a minority
language, which must be prevented at all costs. Slovaks should learn about and enjoy
minority culture, but it should be presented to them in Slovak. That, however, is totally
unrealistic in the case of Hungarian culture. Hungarians have fully developed cultural
activities, often with guest artists from Hungary, which they like to enjoy in Hungarian.
Therefore the laws effect is completely the opposite than stated: Hungarian cultural events
usually do not target a Slovak audience, even if it was possible, because the event would
need to take place in Slovak. Some specific Hungarian cultural events are presented to
Slovak audiences in Slovak. The result is a complete segregation in cultural activities.
50. The law does not contain an exception for minority educational activities, only if these are
oriented at learning a foreign language. Therefore it is technically illegal to hold human
rights seminars or other educational events in Hungarian or Roma. The logic is similar as
above: in the states opinion it would be derogatory for Slovaks to participate in an
educational event in a minority language. We are not aware of this provision being enforced,
but it is worrying enough that it is in the books.
51. The third sentence of 5(7) specifies that even in minority cultural events, the accompanying
narration of the program has to be presented in Slovak as well. This is true even if no Slovak-
speaking person is present. This provision is strictly enforced, and Hungarian cultural events
are in practice accompanied by bilingual narration, even if it is clear that no Slovak person is
present. The participants often find this very derogatory. It also makes the event longer and
more cumbersome.
52. According to 5(6), occasional cultural press documents issued in the languages of national
minorities have to contain a translation of basic data in the State language. This essentially
refers to leaflets and posters informing about minority cultural events. We see no reason why
any information about these would have to be translated into Slovak. Events which are held
in Hungarian are naturally intended only for a Hungarian-speaking audience, regardless of
their ethnicity. It causes complications if Slovak persons not speaking Hungarian appear on
such events, claiming that they were misled by the bilingual leaflet believing the event to be
a bilingual one, and require the whole program to be translated. It is unclear why persons not
speaking the events language have to be informed about it. If the event is held in Slovak or
bilingually (in the case of musical events, for example), the information materials are
naturally bilingual.
53. This provision is a step forward compared to the previous regulation, which required the
whole document to be translated, but a very minor one. The previous regulation affected also
parts of poems or other literary works contained in the leaflet, for which the Ministry of
Culture threatened and started the infamous supervisory proceeding against the amateur
14
drama association in Klasov Kalsz in 2010.
24
Literary works on the leaflets do not have to
be translated anymore, but the rest of the information has to be. Para. 125 of the
Governments report also states that this eliminated any additional financial burden for
national minority organizations. This is obviously not true, as some information in Slovak
still has to be translated and printed.
54. Recently the Ministry of Culture announced that organizations that have been found to
violate the regulation on the language of cultural activities information materials will be
forced to pay back any state funding received for these activities even though they had
been duly allocated and used in accordance with the relevant rules of financing of minority
cultures.
25
55. Cultural activities are private events organized by private organizations or individuals. Some
are, but many are not supported by the state. In our opinion it is unacceptable that the law
interferes with these activities by specifying what language they can be held in and what
languages should be used in documents informing about them. Before the adoption of the
State Language Act, cultural events had been organized in bilingual areas for decades, and
the usual practice was to held them and inform about them in the language of the audience,
which was often mixed and therefore bilingual. There has never been an allegation that this
voluntary system did not work and it therefore needed to be changed. The interference in this
system was completely unjustified, and seriously resisted by Hungarians, who feel that the
states only purpose was to humiliate them by placing their language in a subordinated
position. The effect has been a gradual segregation of cultural events, and increased
frustration on the side of the minorities.
24
http://www.sme.sk/c/5338593/jazyk-ochotnikov-z-divadla-v-klasove-drazdi-madarica.html.
25
http://www.hirek.sk/belfold/20140420161206/Kulturalis-tamogatasok-Feltetel-lesz-a-szlovak-nyelvu-reklam.html.
15
V. Article 6 spirit of tolerance
56. It is hard to evaluate the relationship between ethnic Hungarians and Slovaks in general. The
Government in its report mentions statistics about how many persons were prosecuted for
hate speech and hate crime. These are, however, not very descriptive of the overall situation.
As a very rough starting point, it can be stated that relationships between ordinary citizens
are peaceful and tolerant, especially in areas with a large presence of Hungarians. However,
incidents of harassment of Hungarians for speaking Hungarian are not uncommon, and
physical assaults also do happen occasionally. Although these are rarely reported, many
Hungarians, especially young men, report to have experienced harassment due to their
ethnicity.
57. The source of tension of inter-ethnic violence is often the use of the Hungarian language in
public, either orally or in writing. According to the research of IVO (Intitt pre verejn
otzky Institute for Public Affairs), 36 per cent of the population agrees (16 per cent
strongly agrees) with the statement that members of the Hungarian minority should not speak
Hungarian in public, and supports restrictive policies against Hungarians (see appendix 2
the English summary of the report). This includes resentment of bilingual road signs, school
certificates, and the use of Hungarian in public administration and in places like shops and
hospitals. 56 per cent of Slovaks disagree that Hungarians should administer matters
concerning their own status they are in favour of strict Slovak control over the minoritys
internal affairs as well. 68 per cent considers that the country belongs to Slovaks only. The
states responsibility with regard to these varying figures arises in several ways: by fuelling
these views, by supporting them with legislation, and by not protecting victims of hate
crimes.
i) Fuelling hate speech
58. The view that Hungarians and the Hungarian language are a threat to the state is a common
theme of most political parties in Slovakia. It appears either in the strong form, where
Hungarians are depicted as the arch-enemy who threaten the integrity of the state on every
occasion, or the weaker form, where all concessions in the area of language rights are
portrayed as leading to the oppression of Slovaks.
59. Legislative debates, often reported by the media, provide ample opportunity for releasing
such views. During the 2011 amendments of the language laws, opposition politicians
frequently used derogatory terms against Hungarians, and claimed that the amendments
would lead to oppression of Slovaks in bilingual areas. Even coalition MPs, who have
ultimately supported the amendment, were using such rhetoric. According to Ivan Matovi,
then member of the liberal coalition party SaS, the proposals had to be significantly curtailed
to the extent they became meaningless, because they presented a great threat of
Magyarization of Slovakia.
26
60. Recently, on 27 June 2014, the National Assembly rejected a proposal which would have
allowed minority schools to draft internal school documents in minority languages. MP
Duan Jarjabek of the ruling SMER party stated that the amendment is an attack on the state
26
http://tv.sme.sk/v/20771/matovic-bugarovi-sme-osklbali-hus.html.
16
and the Slovak nation, which is the constitutive nation of the state and is defined by
linguistic, cultural, historic, and genetic traits.
27
Hungarian MPs called his speech fascistic.
61. Similar statements are common when laws related to minorities are adopted and discussed.
The Act on Citizenship was amended in 2010 to abolish the possibility of dual citizenship as
a reaction to the amendment of the Hungarian law on citizenship, which allowed Hungarians
living abroad to apply for Hungarian citizenship. In Slovakia, the Hungarian minority was
expressly referred to as a threat to the integrity and safety of the country by various parties.
The Radiov government tried to amend the law in 2011, but its own MPs refused this,
again referring to Hungarians as a threat, despite the fact that as it turned out, very few
Hungarians applied for Hungarian citizenship.
62. Prime Minister Rbert Fico himself gave an infamous speech on 26 February 2013 in
Martin, at an even of Matica Slovensk (Slovak Mother), a state-financed nationalistic
organization. PM Fico among other stated:
It is a strange tendency, how the problems of minorities are everywhere on purpose put
forward to the detriment of the state-constituting Slovak nation. As if Slovak men and
women did not even live in Slovakia.
We did not establish our independent state primarily for minorities, however we value
them, but mainly for the Slovak state-constituting nation, because indeed Slovaks could
not develop all their skills and talents in the late Czechoslovakia.
It has become a fashion that from minorities in Slovakia we see mostly demands, but no
obligations towards the state. Raised hands, but almost no cultivation of civic virtues.
Zvltna je tendencia, ako sa vade zmerne do popredia na kor ttotvornho
slovenskho nroda vysvaj problmy menn. Akoby na Slovensku ani neili Slovenky a
Slovci.
N nezvisl tt sme prednostne nezakladali pre meniny, akokovek si ich vime, ale
najm pre slovensk ttotvorn nrod, lebo prve Slovci nemohli v bvalom spolonom
eskoslovensku rozvin vetky svoje schopnosti a talent.
Stva sa mdnou zvyklosou, e od menn na Slovensku vdame najm poadovanos,
ale nijak povinnosti voi ttu. Skr natiahnut ruky, zato takmer minimlne pestovanie
obianskych cnost.
28
63. The Prime Minister was criticized for his statements by the media, but he refused to
apologize. He gave an interview to the Hungarian minority newspaper j Sz, but even there
he was unapologetic about his statements, and he claimed he did not make a mistake, he was
simply misunderstood.
29
27
http://www.webnoviny.sk/slovensko/clanok/839506-jarjabek-podla-bugara-reprezentuje-nacionalisticku-fobiu-
sns/
28
http://www.sme.sk/c/6715570/natiahnute-ruky-no-minimalne-obcianske-cnosti-tak-vidi-fico-pristup-mensin.html;
the English version is our translation.
29
http://ujszo.com/online/kozelet/2013/03/04/robert-fico-sajnalom-ha-maskent-ertelmeztek.
17
64. During the regional elections in 2013, Rbert Fico called on Slovaks in the Trnava Region to
vote for his partys Slovak candidate, to avoid that a Hungarian can be the Head of the
Regional Government in Trnava, a Slovak city.
30
He used a similar rhetoric against the
opposition candidate in the neighbouring Nitra Region, who was a Slovak but was supported
also by Hungarian parties.
65. The Ministry of Cultures yearly report on the state of the state language, and the discussions
surrounding it, are another frequent source of derogatory remarks against Hungarians.
Sometimes the report itself contains anti-Hungarian statements, such as in 2012, when the
report cited the fact that some employers required the knowledge of Hungarian from their
employees as pressure on Slovaks.
31
In 2014, the Ministry of Culture used the report to
attack Hungarian pupils for not speaking Slovak well enough. As it turned out later,
Hungarian pupils had in fact exceeded expectations on the tests from the Slovak language.
The Ministry picked out the part of the test where the pupils results were the lowest, and
used this to humiliate the whole community.
32
66. Another frequent source of anti-minority statements is the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The
refusal of the local referendum changing the name of municipality Teedkovo to Pered was
justified on anti-Hungarian grounds and presented as such by the Minister (see paras. 181-
192 below for more information). The Minister also made several accusatory remarks against
Hedviga Malinov, the student who claimed to be brutally beaten in 2006 for speaking
Hungarian in Nitra. The Minister called her a liar in the past in front of television cameras,
accusing her of making up the incident. Hedviga Malinov submitted a complaint to the
European Court of Human Rights in 2009. This proceeding ended with a settlement between
her and the government in 2011. The Government apologized for the inefficiency of the
investigation into her attack. Despite this, under the new Fico government, Hedviga
Malinov was harassed anew by the investigating authorities. Several attempts were made to
commit her to an inpatient psychiatric hospital to establish what her state of mind was in
2006. An international coalition of psychiatrists protested against such a course of action.
Policemen were also apparently deployed to deliver notices to her personally in her home,
which normally would have been delivered simply by post. As a result of the harassment,
Hedviga Malinov moved to Hungary with her family in January 2014.
67. In 2014, she was charged before the Nitra District Court with false testimony relating to the
attacks in 2006. It is unclear at the moment what exactly she is accused of she herself does
not know what the charges are. It is very likely that the state representatives are under
pressure to indict her, because Minister Robert Kalink had already declared her a liar in
2006. If she is proven to have told the truth, it would make the Minister a liar, which he
cannot accept.
ii) The impact of laws on interethnic tensions
68. Politicians derogatory remarks about Hungarians are underlined by the fact that the
countrys laws support this position. The Constitution names Slovaks as the state-
constituting nation, and declares that Slovak is the state language which has primacy over
30
http://trnava.sme.sk/c/7011503/fico-vyzyval-trnavcanov-aby-v-slovenskom-meste-nemali-madarskeho-
zupana.html
31
Ministerstvo kultry Slovenskej republiky, Sprva o stave pouvania ttneho jazyka na zem Slovenskej
republiky, 2012, p. 25.
32
http://www.sme.sk/c/7178712/madaric-kritizuje-malych-madarov-za-slovencinu-aj-ked-v-teste-uspeli.html
18
other languages. The State Language Act also declares that Slovak has supremacy over other
languages in Slovakia. The Act curtails the use of Hungarian in several ways, detailed in this
report, and creates and maintains the impression that Hungarian signs and Hungarian speech
are unacceptable and to be avoided by Slovaks.
69. Since these restrictive laws have enjoyed support from all Slovak parties across different
governments, it sends a powerful message to ordinary citizens about the Hungarian language
and the Hungarian minority. The laws adoption and the refusal to amend it substantively
were justified by the threat of Hungarians oppressing Slovaks. It is no wonder that many
Slovaks, especially those who do not live in bilingual areas, buy in to this rhetoric, and
believe that Hungarians are a threat and the Hungarian language needs to be suppressed.
70. The situation is made worse by completely unfounded allegations about the linguistic
situation in bilingual areas of South Slovakia during discussions of the language laws
politicians frequently claim bizarre facts such as that Slovaks are not allowed to speak their
language in the South, all public administration and signs are in Hungarian, Slovaks are
forced to learn Hungarian to get by, etc. If that was indeed the case, even non-nationalistic
Slovaks could be concerned and develop anti-Hungarian sentiments and many believe it to
be true, because this is what they hear from Members of Parliament and the government. In
light of this it is understandable why 36 per cent of the population are against hearing or
seeing Hungarian on the streets: they are wilfully misinformed by politicians about the true
situation of minorities and their languages in Slovakia.
iii) Inter-ethnic violence
71. Inter-ethnic violence directed at Hungarians is fortunately rare. Even less of it is reported,
therefore it is hard even to estimate what its real occurrence is. What is certain, however, that
the state does not show a good example of how anti-Hungarian acts should be handled, and
thus discourages reporting.
72. On 13 May 2012, a group of Hungarian youth was attacked during the night in Bratislava by
neo-Nazis, allegedly for speaking Hungarian.
33
The police caught the perpetrators, but
immediately dismissed the ethnic motivation of the incident, without investigating it. This is
a common practice of the Slovak police unfortunately: racist or ethnic motivations are often
denied with the first press statement, which puts in doubt how seriously they are
investigated.
73. A famous case took place on 19 May 2014 in Bratislava. Drius Rusnk, the head of
President Ivan Gaparovis Public Relations Department, started harassing two young
women in a bar in Bratislava for speaking Hungarian. He shouted very vulgar remarks at
them, commenting on them being Hungarian, and told them to leave. When he was told to
behave by two young men who were at the bar, he assaulted them.
34
The facts of the case are
undisputed, all eye witnesses gave a similar report. The police nevertheless closed the
investigation against Rusnk on the ground that vulgar remarks based on ethnicity do not
constitute hate-speech; it would have to be proven that the perpetrator had a long-standing
negative opinion against the minority in question (the decision is on file with us).
35
The
polices reasoning is completely absurd, and makes the prosecution of any hate crime
33
http://index.hu/kulfold/2012/05/14/magyar_fiatalokat_vertek_meg_pozsonyban/
34
http://www.sme.sk/c/7210824/darius-rusnak-urazal-madarov-a-vyvolal-bitku-v-krcme.html
35
http://www.sme.sk/c/7228999/rusnak-urazal-madarov-beztrestne-nadavky-policii-nestacia.html
19
practically impossible. It is no wonder that the cases of successful prosecution of hate crimes
are so low in Slovakia.
74. Hate speech against Hungarians is also common on the internet, in facebook and other
sites.
36
A Slovak nationalistic group, the Slovak Revival Movement (SHO Slovensk
hnutie obrody), have launched a campaign Na slovensku po slovensky (In Slovakia [speak]
in Slovak) in 2012. They are placing stickers with this slogan on Hungarian signs, they paint
over Hungarian signs or simply destroy them, and then post the results of their vandalism on
facebook.
37
They target both private signs (on shop windows, advertisements) and public
signs (road signs, municipality announcements). Despite criminal reports, the police never
took action against them.
The Hungarian sign rsekjvar is covered by the sticker of SHO
36
http://napigerzson.sk/nesze-neked-szpolupraca/
37
http://ujszo.com/online/regio/2014/06/05/ersekujvar-lefestettek-a-magyar-feliratot
20
75. In 2012, they released a picture in which they pose with assault rifles and T-shirts saying
Slovakia for Slovaks in front of an Orange shop in Komrno, stating that they convinced
the stores employees not to speak in Hungarian.
38
A criminal complaint was filed because of
the incident, which the police rejected on the ground that no crime was committed.
Slovak nationalists posing in front of an Orange shop in Komrno Komrom
iv) Inter-ethnic education
38
http://alfahir.hu/magyarellenes_fenyegetozes_fegyverrel_pozolnak_a_szlovak_szelsosegesek-20120723
21
76. The state of depicting Hungarian history and Hungarian culture in textbooks in Slovak
schools is deplorable. Hungarians appear as tourists or recent immigrants who appeared in
Slovakia by marrying a Slovak person. Based on these textbooks, Slovak pupils develop a
completely distorted view of how Hungarians appeared in the country, and learn nothing
about their culture. The history textbooks are oriented at the history of Slovakia, despite the
fact that until 1918 the country did not exist, and its territory was part of Hungary since the
11
th
century. Slovakia is nevertheless discussed as an entity since medieval times.
Hungarians rarely appear in history books either, despite the fact that they were the dominant
ethnic group in the country until 1918. If they do, they often appear in a negative role, such
as the oppressors of Slovaks.
77. These textbooks are completely inappropriate for Slovak pupils as well, but are even more
unacceptable for Hungarians. Yet the Ministry of Education requires the translation of these
textbooks to be used in Hungarian schools. In December 2013, a legislative proposal by the
party Most-Hd, which would have introduced the teaching of the national culture of
minorities for minority students, was rejected by the National Assembly.
39
The amendment
was supposed to enable the teaching about Hungarian culture in Hungarian schools, and for
textbooks to be prepared for this purpose. It is absurd that these were rejected in Slovakia. It
would be appropriate if not only Hungarians, but also Slovaks would learn about Hungarian
culture, and all would learn about the other minority cultures making up the society of
Slovakia today.
39
http://www.sme.sk/c/7042685/predmety-o-narode-mensiny-v-narodnostnych-skolach-nebudu.html
22
VI. Article 7 freedom of association
78. One issue of concern in the reported period is the Ministry of Internal Affairs discriminatory
approach to the registration of associations with Hugnarian names, which is based on an
unclear and conflicting provision of the State Language Act. There is no regulation in this or
other Act concerning the name of an association. However, 8(3) of the State Language Act
states that an associations Charter must be drafted in Slovak. The Ministry of International
Affairs, the body responsible for registering associations, used this provision to develop an
abusive approach against bilingual associations.
79. In 2011, the Ministry refused to register the association Somorja hangja Has amorna
with a bilingual Hungarian-Slovak name because the order of the names.
40
It required the
Slovak name to go first, to be followed by the Hungarian one. The association appealed,
arguing that there is no restriction on the name of an association in any law. In its appeal it
changed its proposed name to Hungarian-Latin, Somorja hangja Vox Samariae, which
the Ministry registered. At that point, the Ministry accepted that there is no restriction
regarding the language of names.
80. While there had been no change in the relevant regulation, in 2013 the Ministry changed its
practice. It refused to register Hungarian and Slovak-Hungarian bilingual names, claiming
that since the Charter contains the associations name, and the Charter has to be in Slovak
only, the name must be in Slovak only as well. To our knowledge the following associations
have been rejected: Szlovkiai Magyar Cserksszvetsg Zvz skautov maarskej
nrodnosti (the Association of Hungarian Scouts in Slovakia), Esthajnalcsillag, Fontos Vagy!
Polgri Szvetsg, Magyar Polgri Kr (see Appendix 3 for the rejection sent to Fontos
Vagy!; all the other rejections are on file with us). Some associations were registered with a
bilingual or Hungarian name on appeal, which means the Ministry was well aware that its
requirement has no basis in the law. However, associations which did not appeal, because
they did not know that the Ministry is essentially misleading them about the law, changed
their name to a Slovak-only form. We do not know how many associations are affected,
because only the above mentioned ones contacted us for legal advice.
81. To test whether this policy affects only Hungarian names, an association with an English
name was established in 2012. It was registered without problems as the Human Rights
Centre. The Ministry did not require the founders to change the name to Slovak or bilingual.
82. The above practice of the Ministry is thus not only discriminatory, directed against
Hungarian names, but also completely mala fide. The Ministry is fully aware that its position
does not have a legal basis, nevertheless it misleads associations into believing there exists a
legal restriction on the language of names. None of these cases ever reach the court system,
because on appeal the Ministry always accepts that its position is unlawful. It nevertheless
continues to require associations to fulfil a non-existent legal criterion. In doing this, it
abuses its position as the main authority on the law of associations, whom most civil
organisations have no reason to doubt. They could not imagine that the Ministry is
knowingly stating the untruth and requires them to meet criteria which it knows does not
exist.
40
http://www.felvidek.ma/nezopont/jegyzet-kommentar/43837-mindenhogy-lehet-csak-magyarul-nem
23
VII. Article 9 media in minority languages
i) Broadcasting in Hungarian in the national television
83. In para 156, table 18, the Government indicates that RTVS, the national television station,
broadcasted 108 hours in Hungarian in 2013. According to the information of the
Association of Hungarian Television Broadcasters in Slovakia, 108 is the number of the
planned broadcast hours. In reality, however, the actually broadcasted time is much lower.
Currently it is 75 minutes weekly (65 hours annually), but even that gets limited. During the
summer, or important events like the Football World Cup, Hungarian programs are regularly
cancelled. Some previously successful programs, such as the studio discussion Tertken,
which used to air 1 hour by-weekly, were completely discontinued, apparently because of
censorship - the discussions were inconvenient to the government.
ii) Broadcasting by private broadcasters
84. We note with very serious concern that the issue of the language of private TV broadcasting
has not been resolved at all, and even deteriorated in the reported period. The government in
para. 160 of its report admits that the legal requirements have not changed in the reported
period: private televisions broadcasting in Hungarian have to subtitle all their broadcasting in
Slovak or re-broadcast it in Slovak.
85. Curiously, the same paragraph states that this requirement does not limit private minority
broadcasters in any way. Nothing is far from the truth. The legal requirement makes
broadcasting live programs and interactive programs in Hungarian impossible, which is a
serious hindrance in running a television channel attractive to viewers. With regard to other
programs, it is just common sense that it takes time and effort to subtitle or prepare a Slovak
language version of the program. Hungarian broadcasters estimate that the cost of
translations raises their overall costs by 30-40% (depending on whether subtitling or Slovak
re-broadcasting is dominant). It also requires allocating employee time and broadcast time to
translations.
86. Besides raising costs, translation also decreases some broadcasters revenue. Some
companies interested in advertising products only relevant for Hungarian-speaking audiences
are reluctant to advertise in Slovak, as this would mislead customers. They therefore do not
advertise in Hungarian minority televisions in Slovakia, which means a loss of profit for the
TVs. At this point we note that the Komrno TV received a fine of 165 Euros by the National
Broadcasting Council (Rada pre vysielanie a retransmisiu) on 31 August 2010 for
broadcasting in Hungarian (without Slovak subtitles or translation) an advertisement of a
local Hungarian newspaper, Delta (the decision is on file with us). The trovo TV also
received a fine from the Council in 2012 for broadcasting several advertisements in
Hungarian, notably of a restaurant from Hungary, a private advertisement concerning the
sale of a vineyard in Hungary, and two other companies of uncertain location. The amount of
the fines itself is not substantial, but the televisions lose advertising revenue from these and
other advertisers on a much larger scale. Hungarian newspapers and events, and companies
from Hungary who are interested in attracting customers from Slovakia, but do not want to
create the impression that they communicate in Slovak, have no intention to advertise in
Slovak.
24
87. On 26 February 2013, the National Broadcasting Council imposed a fine on the trovo TV
for broadcasting several sentences in Hungarian in the course of interviewing witnesses of a
fatal car accident (the decision is on file with us).
88. The regulation was changed in two important ways in the reported period. As the
Government report mentions in para. 161, an exception from the above rule was created for
televisions which broadcast in one or more of the EUs official languages. A television,
which broadcasts only in Hungarian, for example, would not be required to translate or
subtitle its programs to Slovak. The Minister of Culture made it clear that this exception
applies only to broadcasters from other EU countries, as it is implementing an EU
requirement, and it does not affect local and regional minority broadcasters in Slovakia.
Indeed, Hungarian minority broadcasters in Slovakia are not interested in broadcasting in
Hungarian only. Their audiences are mixed, therefore even televisions operating in areas
with the largest proportions of Hungarians are interested in broadcasting some programs in
Slovak. The new regulations just underline the absurdity of the law: if a television broadcasts
entirely in Hungarian, it is not required to translate or subtitle anything to Slovak. However,
if it broadcasted even one minute daily in Slovak, the exception no longer applies to it, and it
is suddenly required to translate or subtitle all its programs to Slovak, with all the difficulties
described above and the impossibility to translate live and interactive programs in
Hungarian.
89. With another change in the regulation, the state made sure that even if a minority
broadcaster applied for a license to broadcast in Hungarian-only, it could be rejected. From 1
January 2014, a new provision, 47(2) was inserted to the Act on Broadcasting and
Retransmission (No. 308/2000 Col. l.), according to which in allocating licenses for regional
and local broadcasting in an EU language, the National Broadcasting Council is obligated to
consider and take into account whether there is sufficient offer of regional or local
broadcasting of programs in the state language in the area covered by this broadcasting.
41
90. The law thus makes it possible to reject a request for license, which fulfils all other criteria
(those remained unchanged in 47(1)), purely on the basis that there is an insufficient offer
of Slovak broadcasting in the region. Besides the fact that this criterion is purely arbitrary, it
is also completely absurd. The vast majority of local and regional televisions are
broadcasting through cable networks. There is no shortage of slots on cable;
42
the state can
issue any number of licenses it wants. By denying a license to a Hungarian broadcaster, the
state does not solve any problems, there will be no more Slovak broadcasters in the region as
a result. The provision thus only makes sure that indeed no minority broadcaster from
Slovakia is able to make use of the exception created due to EU pressure.
91. Summing up our position concerning the language obligations imposed on minority TV
stations, we consider that there is no justification in a democratic society for interfering with
private broadcasters rights in such a manner. By imposing an obligation to make all their
programs available in Slovak, the state essentially requires private TVs to fulfil the state
function of informing citizens, on their own cost. In the current world, however, regional
41
In Slovak: Pri rozhodovan o udelen licencie na regionlne vysielanie alebo licencie na loklne vysielanie
vhradne v jednom alebo vo viacerch radnch jazykoch Eurpskej nie, ktor nie je ttnym jazykom
Slovenskej republiky, je rada povinn posudzova a prihliada aj na skutonos, i existuje dostaton ponuka
regionlneho vysielania alebo loklneho vysielania programovch sluieb v ttnom jazyku na zem, ktor by
malo by tmto vysielanm pokryt.
42
The equivalent of frequencies of traditional antenna broadcasting. Frequencies are limited.
25
TVs are hardly the only or even an important source of information. Several alternatives
exist, notable the state-run RTVS, newspapers, the internet and the activities of state and
municipal bodies. Slovak-speakers are already at a huge advantage in these areas, as all these
bodies produce information in Slovak, but to a much lesser extent, if at all, in Hungarian. It
would be unthinkable, for example, for a state-run public administration body to issue a press
release in Hungarian.
92. The legal requirement is absolute: it requires translating or subtitling programs which are of
no interest at all to Slovak-speaking audiences, such as Hungarian cultural programs.
Regional and local broadcasters are much more aware of their audiences needs and interests,
are at a much better place to estimate which programs to prepare in which language(s), and it
is in their business interest to please their audience, including Slovak speakers. The state is,
however, making it impossible for them to perform this task effectively.
93. The regulation is also severely discriminatory. There is no obligation to translate any part of
broadcasting to minority languages in minority-populated regions, nor licensing
requirements to ensure that there is sufficient minority-language broadcasting in regions
where that could be relevant. Broadcasting purely in Slovak in a village populated only by
Hungarians is legal, and even cheaper, because no translation costs are incurred. Minority-
language broadcasters are thus put to a competitive disadvantage compared to Slovak
broadcasters.
94. We think this state of affairs is untenable, as it is threatening the development and even the
existence of minority broadcasting in Slovakia. Instead of hindering it, the states obligation
should be to support minority broadcasting. Slovakia, however, has made no steps even to
lift the restrictive legislation. The recent critique from the EU, and the Venice Commissions
report, which criticized harshly the existing language requirements,
43
has only resulted in
cynical resistance and introducing a legal criteria ensuring that the minority broadcasters
situation does not improve. We therefore ask the Advisory Committee to make clear that
such an attitude and legal regulation is violating the Framework Convention, and should be
changed as utmost priority.
iii) Minority newspapers
95. As a minor note, we point out that in Para. 162, when reporting on minority periodicals, the
Government only lists periodicals in minority languages. That is a common practice in this
type of reporting; however, it is very uninformative. The number of minority newspapers,
and any other type of media or activities, should be contrasted with its majority equivalent.
That would give some indication on whether the situation is satisfactory or not. We would
therefore welcome if the Government reported the number of Slovak periodicals as well.
96. We also submit that the Ministry of Culture requires newspapers issued by municipal self-
governments to be fully translated to Slovak. The Ministry argues that periodicals issued by
a municipality are official communication, and therefore everything has to be in Slovak as
well, including artistic content such as poems. Of course municipalities that issue periodicals
in Slovak only are under no obligation to translate anything to Hungarian.
43
See paras. 86-90 of the Venice Commissions report, supra note 1.
26
VIII. Article 10 the use of minority languages
i) Process of adoption of the 2011 Amendment
97. In para. 45 of its report the Government claims that representatives of national minorities
have been carefully and repeatedly consulted in the preparation of the 2011 amendment of
the State Language Act and the Law on the Use of National Minorities. In fact, however,
these seems to relate only to the political representatives of the Hungarian national minority
represented in the Government, that is, the Most-Hd party. Representatives of Most-Hd
voted for the amendments, but they expressed serious frustration over the fact that members
of their own government coalition rejected meaningful improvements to the use of minority
languages. The proposal submitted to the National Assembly was already a very limited one,
which was even more substantially limited by Members of Parliament. One coalition MP
commented that they pulled the feather off from Bugrs Hungarian goose, meaning that
there was in fact nothing meaningful left from the original proposal.
44
98. As to other representatives of the Hungarian minority, despite previous promises, Hungarian
civil associations have not been consulted during the legislative process. They jointly
submitted comments on the proposed amendment to the Law on the Use of National
Minorities on 10 December 2010 and 23 February 2011. Despite the fact that they limited
their comments to the scope of the amendment, none of the 64 and 73 of their proposals were
accepted! The government sent no response explaining why the proposals were rejected. The
fact that the amendments were adopted without any public discussion was seriously regretted
by Hungarian civil society.
ii) Interpretation relationship between the two language laws
99. In para. 27 of their report, the Government argues that the 2011 amendments of the State
Language Act and the Law on the Use of National Minorities clearly define their mutual
relation. In fact, however, the opposite is true. Because of the chaotic amendment process,
the legal situation is now even more unclear than before. The State Language Act, which
originally was meant to regulate the use of the state language only, now contains many
provisions regulating the use of minority languages. The same issues are also regulated in the
Law on the Use of National Minorities. Sometimes the regulations are identical, other times
they are not. The State Language Act still contains provision 1(4) for which it was already
criticized by the Advisory Committee: it states that it has primacy over other laws when
regulating the use of languages of national minorities. This is very confusing, as the Law on
the Use of National Minorities is supposed to be lex specialis to the State Language Act.
Besides, the State Language Act has been amended by several references to the Law on the
Use of National Minorities. It is unclear what the status of those provisions of the latter act to
which there are no such references is. In summary, the relationship of the two acts is now
extremely confusing, making it difficult even for lawyers to find out what the actual law is.
In some cases, it is not even possible with standard interpretation techniques, and the
interpretation to be followed is left to the imagination of the authorities.
100. Interpretation difficulties are compounded by the fact that there are several other laws
containing provisions with impact on language rights. These have been drafted with a
Slovak-only language regime in mind, and have not been amended to bring them into
44
[Bla] Bugr is the chair of Most-Hd; http://tv.sme.sk/v/20771/matovic-bugarovi-sme-osklbali-hus.html.
27
compliance with the Law on the Use of National Minorities. In fact, authorities consistently
interpret these clashes to the detriment of minority language use. This report contains several
examples.
101. Lastly, interpretation is also difficult because the several amendments, which were
modified hastily in the course of heated political debates in the National Assembly, have
made the provisions of the two language acts even internally inconsistent, notwithstanding
their relationship with each other and other acts. The following parts contain several
examples of such provisions.
102. The current legislation on language use is inconsistent, confusing, contradictory, which
makes it practically impossible for ordinary citizens to follow it, and provides for a lot of
discretion for abusive interpretation by the authorities. Despite the fact that the laws are not
lengthy and they are frequently debated, according to Forums research the lack of clarity in
their rights and obligations is one of main reasons why citizens and companies alike do not
utilize even those rights they have and restrict the use of minority languages in their
communication.
103. In our opinion, the situation should be remedied by merging the two language laws to
one piece of legislation, which would eradicate a lot of the duplicity and inconsistency
between them. Other laws should be brought into compliance with this consolidated
language act.
iii) Personal scope
104. One of the confusing aspects of the Law on the Use of National Minorities is its personal
scope. According to 1(1) it applies to a citizen with a minority ethnicity. It is unclear
whether it applies to persons in their capacity as a citizen, or to any citizen in any capacity.
More specifically, according to some legal opinions it does not apply to persons acting on
behalf of companies and other entities, because these do not fall under the personal scope of
the act.
105. Also, several Hungarians from Slovakia, citizens and residents since their birth, lost their
citizenship because of acquiring the citizenship of Hungary in the reported period. The law
presumable does not apply to them anymore.
iv) Territorial scope flexibility
106. The Governments report states in several places that the laws territorial scope is
flexible, because it does not enforce a specific threshold. The truth, however, is that the law
did not amend the list of bilingual municipalities, which is still based on the results of the
1991 census. Any municipality meeting the 20% criteria in 1991 is on the current list; those
below the threshold in 1991 are missing.
107. Ruthenian and Roma villages are negatively affected by this approach many of them
showed an increase in the minority population since 1991, but are not on the list of bilingual
municipalities. For Hungarian municipalities, the results are mixed. Several of them have
fallen below the 20% threshold (22 below 15 per cent, 13 are between 20-15 per cent), but
are still on the list. 1 municipality has risen above the 20 per cent threshold, and two other
above the 15 per cent threshold, but are not on the list. Four other municipalities, which did
28
not exist in 1991 because they were created later by seceding from towns, have more than 20
per cent Hungarians, but are not on the list. Such a rigid application of census results from 20
years ago could hardly be described as flexible.
108. The law states that a 15 per cent threshold will be applicable in the future: from 2021,
municipalities that have had 15 per cent minority population in the preceding two censuses
can be added to the list, and from 2031 municipalities that have fallen below the 15 per cent
threshold can be deleted from the list. (Because of the unclear wording of 7c(2) of the law
this can be actually 2041 the condition is phrased differently than in 7c(1), and it is
unclear whether this is intentional or an oversight.) Again, this can hardly be considered
flexible the law is imposing a strict numeric criteria.
109. The Roundtable of Hungarians in Slovakia suggested during the legislative process that
10 per cent should be the general threshold, a lower threshold should be applicable for losing
the right to use minority languages, and meeting a higher threshold (e.g. 50 per cent) should
lead to higher requirements, such as complete bilingual communication in the municipality.
The proposal was not accepted.
110. Another issue related to the territorial scope is the fact that the Law uses the number of
persons declaring a minority ethnicity in the census as its only criteria for determining
bilingual municipalities. However, since it is a law on language use, it would be more
appropriate to use the number of persons declaring a minority mother tongue, or a
combination of the two where meeting either the ethnicity or the mother tongue threshold
would suffice.
111. Besides, in the last census 7% of the population did not declare any ethnicity. The laws
approach is to consider these persons Slovak, when in fact minorities are overrepresented in
this group. It would be correct to discount any undeclared persons from a municipalitys
population before calculating the threshold. It would be even more appropriate to allow
declaring multiple affiliations of ethnicity/mother tongue in the census, and not to use the
census as the only source of information on language use.
v) Sanctions
112. The Government claims in para. 29 of its report that natural persons and legal entities
who are not public administration authorities have been fully excluded from the possibility of
being sanctioned by the 2011 amendment of the State Language Act. The truth, however, is
that several companies and natural persons have been sanctioned in the reported period for
violating (often unknowingly) the State Language Act. The sanctions were imposed on the
basis of specific legislation not by the Ministry of Culture, but they were explicitly imposed
for breaching the State Language Act. Paragraphs 86-87 above and 178-179 and 199 below
contain the details.
113. Besides, the State Language Act itself still allows the sanctioning of all possible groups
of perpetrators, including companies and natural persons, for failure to display signs
informing about danger. Although the first sentence of 9a(1) is unclear, it follows from its
logical interpretation that it does not apply to public administration bodies only. It says that
fines can be imposed in case of information of public administration bodies intended for the
public or information relating to danger to life, health, safety and property of citizens
(ak ide o informcie verejnej sprvy uren pre verejnos alebo o informcie tkajce sa
29
ohrozenia ivota, zdravia, bezpenosti alebo majetku obanov). As all information
relating to danger is intended for the public, the second half of the sentence would be
superfluous if it only applied to public administration bodies, as it would be already covered
by the first half of sentence. Consequently, the second half (information about danger) does
not apply merely to public administration bodies. Because no other subjects are identified,
this criterion applies to everyone.
114. In para. 29 the Government repeats its statement from its previous report that the Act on
the State Language does not enable to impose a fine in relation to using a minority language
in any case, only for failure to use the state language. This claim is very misleading.
Fines are typically not enabled by the Act on the State Language, but by other legislation for
breaching the Act on the State Language. If the Act states that a sign can be displayed only in
Slovak, and somebody is fined for putting up a bilingual sign, it is clear that he was fined for
using a minority language. Similarly, if the Act requires somebody to speak in Slovak in a
certain situation (for example a policeman, or a public administration clerk), and he speaks in
Hungarian, he can be sanctioned for violating the Act on the State Language. He would be
sanctioned for failure to speak in Slovak, and at the same time state for speaking in
Hungarian. It is the same thing.
115. In Para. 29 the Government states that the Ministry of Culture has not imposed a single
fine in the reported period, instead it consistently applies the policy of positive incentives.
The first half of the sentence is true, it were indeed other bodies which have imposed fines
for breaching the State Language Act. The positive incentives of the Ministry, however,
consisted of carrying out oversight activities under 9 of the State Language Act. The
scope of these activities is much wider than the possibility to impose sanctions. If the
Ministry receives a notice of breaching the law, it orders the perpetrator to produce all
documentation, then carries out an on-site visit, and concludes with a protocol informing the
perpetrator that he or she has breach of the law, and orders him or her to remedy the
situation. It also threatens with repercussions in the future if the situation is not remedied. No
decision is issued, and procedural laws (the Act on Administrative Procedure and the Code
on Civil Procedure) are not applicable to the oversight activities. This means that the
perpetrator cannot appeal the Ministrys opinion, and other persons affected by the
Ministrys interpretation cannot join the process. In the case of a Hungarian advertisement of
a Hungarian youth festival, for example (detailed in para. 199 below), the Ministry targeted
not the organizers, but the advertising company from which the organizers ordered their
posters to be put up. The organizers did not even know about the oversight process; they
could not be heard, and were left without a legal remedy. The advertising company will next
time no doubt refuse to accept their advertisement, because it wants no trouble with the
Ministry. The organizers use of a minority language has thus been effectively curtailed,
without the Ministry ever getting in touch with them. This method of implementing the State
Language Act is more insidious, and possibly even more dangerous than imposing fines,
because it completely evades the court system and thus creates an atmosphere of fear and
chilling effect without court oversight. To our knowledge no other positive incentives were
used by the Ministry, nor does the Governments report mention any apart from the
constructive dialogue explained above.
116. It should be mentioned that since 2011 it is possible to impose sanctions under the Act on
the Use of MinorityLanguages for failure to put up bilingual signs informing about danger.
However, the Government Office has rejected to initiate proceedings despite clear
30
widespread violations of the law (see para 176 below). This underlines the states
discriminatory attitude towards the state language and minority languages.
vi) Language use in public administration
117. The Governments Report mentions that the 2011 amendments to the two language laws
significantly expanded the scope of use of minority languages. In fact, however, this meant
only adding new redundant provisions to the laws, which did not change the legal situation,
and even less the practice.
118. Politicians have praised the amendments for allowing minority citizens to address public
administration bodies in their language this, however, is a legal possibility since 1999,
which was limited by the amendment. Until 2011, a minority citizen had a right to use his
language in official communication with public administration bodies. According to the
current wording of the Law on the Use of Languages of National Minorities, this right is not
absolute, but the public administration body will create conditions for its realization with an
adequate method, and it can specify a time period for communication in the minority
language (2(3) of the Law). Nobody knows what adequate means in this regard.
According to the most common opinion, this refers to the proportion of minority residents in
the given municipality: if the town has 50 per cent Hungarians, the possibility to use the
minority language applies to half of the offices business hours.
119. This provision is absurd, because it has no relationship to reality. Citizens do not go to
public administration offices to enjoy a chat in their minority language they go there to
settle their official business. They go when they can, and will certainly not come back at
another day just to have the privilege of conversing in Hungarian. This new clause has no
reasonable relationship to the linguistic ability of public administration employees. If we
assume that their linguistic skills match that of the residents, the appropriate solution would
be to ensure with adequate scheduling that there always is a minority-speaking employee on
duty. If a town has 30 per cent Hungarians, 10 employees work at the local municipality
office, and only 3 speak Hungarian, the solution would be to make sure that from those 3
there is always at least one on duty.
120. The other reason why the provision is absurd is because it has no relationship to the
nature of the right in question. There is no obligation on the public administration or any
other body and its employees to actually speak a minority language. The Law states this
expressly in the second sentence of 7(1). The citizens right is thus not met with any
obligation on the side of public administration. Citizens can speak in Hungarian, if the clerk
they are speaking to happens to understand Hungarian and is willing to use it. If not, the
clerk cannot be compelled, nor can the body or office where he or she is working. The
citizens right simply means that the minority language is not prohibited whether he can
actually use it, depends on the willingness of the body he is communicating with.
121. In practice, besides the unclear and confusing legal regulation, the linguistic skills of
public administration bodies and their employees are the biggest obstacle to realizing the
linguistic rights of minority citizens. Those living in municipalities where Hungarians make
up the majority are better off: civil servants will be more likely to include Hungarian
speakers, especially in the local self-government. Local branches of state bodies, however,
are much less likely to have Hungarians among their staff even in these municipalities. Tax
offices, for example, are notorious to hire Slovaks disproportionately even in Komrno -
31
Komrom, a district town of a district with Hungarian majority. State police (as opposed to
municipality police) have similar difficulty communicating in Hungarian even in Komrno -
Komrom, not to mention Nov Zmky - rsekjvr, Galanta - Galnta, Rimavsk Sobota -
Rimaszombat, and other towns with a lower proportion of Hungarians.
122. In para. 168 of its report, the Government shows a table according to which 88 per cent
of the employees of Hungarian-Slovak bilingual municipalities speak Hungarian. This,
however, does not include employees of other public administration bodies located in those
municipalities. Nor does the Government reveal other results of its own research. The same
study shows that from the 512 affected Hungarian-Slovak municipalities, 368 do not use
Hungarian in its official business (which is optional), and 311 do not inform citizens about
the right to use the minority language (which is mandatory).
45
123. The state made no attempts to face this problem and propose a realistic solution to it. The
Roundtable of Hungarians in Slovakia proposed several measures, such as financial
incentives for learning a minority language, preferential hiring of Hungarian-speakers,
language training of existing staff, and conscious rotation of minority-speakers among shifts
so that some of them are always on duty. None of these were adopted by the Government,
instead the above mentioned limitation on business hours in minority languages was adopted.
Besides, the Ministry of Culture considers it a pressure on Slovaks if a person is hired for a
position because he can speak Hungarian (see paras. 65 above).
124. This should be contrasted with the situation of the state language. The requirement to
speak Slovak as a condition for employment in public administration has been formally
dropped from the State Language Act in 2009. However, the law still makes clear that it is an
obligation of all public employees to speak Slovak (3(1)). The Government Principles
interpreting the State Language Act also provide examples how the employees knowledge
of Slovak could be checked (oral exam, written exam, or requiring a certificate from Slovak).
It is unthinkable that a person not speaking Slovak would be employed as a civil servant. All
public bodies and civil servants have an unconditional duty to be able to communicate in
Slovak. A citizens right to use Slovak with regard to any public administration body is
indeed a right, because a corresponding obligation on the public body exists.
125. While the right to use Slovak applies to all public bodies in Slovakia, the right to use a
minority language is much more limited. It applies to a selected type of bodies which are
placed in bilingual municipalities. Even there, it does not apply to, for example, the Social
Security Administration, post offices, railways, public universities, and other bodies
established by law. In addition, many public administration bodies are located in district
centres, most of which are not bilingual towns, and regional centres, none of which is a
bilingual town. Even if a proceeding starts in front of a body to which the Law on the Use of
Languages of National Minorities applies, the appeal and any subsequent proceedings are
very likely to continue in front of a body to which it does not. This means that all documents
would have to be officially translated into Slovak. Even locally, one body can produce a
document in Hungarian, which another body (e.g. the Social Security Office) accepts only in
Slovak. Even for bilingual offices, the law states that if a document has two language
versions, the one in Slovak takes precedence. There is, therefore, very little use of a public
document issued in Hungarian. Most likely only the body issuing it will accept it, other
45
Sprva o stave pouvania jazykov nrodnostnch menn na zem Slovenskej republiky poda 7a ods. 2
zkona . 184/1999 Z. z. o pouvan jazykov nrodnostnch menn v znen neskorch predpisov, rad vldy
Slovenskej republiky, 2012, Annex 1, p. 1.
32
bodies will be much more reluctant or reject it outright. This fragmentation of the spheres
where minority languages can be used is one of the important reasons why even Hungarians,
not to mention other minorities, prefer to receive documents in Slovaks.
126. One of the very few positive aspects of the 2011 amendments was stressing that some
documents issued by public administration bodies will be available bilingually. Although this
possibility technically existed since 1999, the law now specifies some documents, namely
birth, marriage and death certificates (besides the general categories of permissions,
authorizations, confirmations, opinions and declarations). These three types of documents
have indeed been prepared bilingually and distributed to local registries. However, the
Ministry of Internal Affairs, the body supervising registries, sent an order to all of them that
the documents must be filled out only in the state language, not bilingually (see appendix 4).
This is a very restrictive and bad faith interpretation of the law. The Ministry argues that only
the document itself has to be bilingual, not the text written in it.
127. With regard to other documents and forms, bilingual versions and forms have not been
distributed. According to the Government Offices own research, only 7,3 per cent of the
state administration offices located in bilingual municipalities have bilingual forms related to
their activities (these are likely to be the above mentioned registries). 2,4 per cent do not use
any forms, and 90.3 per cent do not have bilingual forms.
46
128. Slovakia is currently preparing a project on electronic public administration citizens
will be able to communicate with public bodies, make submissions and receive documents
through the internet.
47
Minority languages are not included in this system, therefore they will
be excluded from another important domain of communication. No doubt, in the name of
reaching an appropriate balance between the state language and minority languages.
129. The regulation on the use of languages in public administration is completely out of
touch with reality. For decades, Hungarian has been used in public administration
unofficially in local municipal offices, where the citizens and clerks knew each other and
knew who speaks Hungarian and who does not, oral Hungarian communication was possible.
This has been restricted by the adoption of the State Language Act, and has not improved at
all due to the Law on the Use of National Minorities. The regulation is very unclear,
contradictory, fragmented, and completely out of touch with the real obstacles of minority
language use. Instead of an incomprehensible network of redundant provisions, the law
should not contain any restrictions on language use, it should only list public administration
bodies duties towards citizens. It should deal with oral communication, written
communication, and signs differently, as these depend on different conditions. With regard to
signs, there is no reason why signs of public nature could not be mandatory in bilingual
communities. In written communication, the state should provide forms and samples of
documents, and provide language training as even those civil servants who speak fluent
Hungarian are unable to draft administrative documents because of the lack of practice
these have simply never been written before in Hungarian, and the proper terminology is
often alien to civil servants. The basic criterion of minority language use in oral
communication is the improvement of the linguistic skills of public employees. The state has
taken no steps in this regard.
46
Sprva o stave pouvania jazykov nrodnostnch menn, supra note 45, annex 2, p. 3
47
http://ekonomika.sme.sk/c/7054556/datove-schranky-spustili-v-predstihu-maju-ich-vsetci-dospeli.html
33
vii) Language of public announcements
130. Villages in Slovakia often notify their residents about information of public relevance
through a net of loudspeakers. In some municipalities with an entirely Hungarian population,
the practice in the past was for these announcements to be in Hungarian only. Currently,
however, the State Language Act requires that everywhere they have to be in Slovak first,
and they can optionally be translated into Hungarian.
131. On 1 July 2013, the Ministry of Culture initiated a supervisory proceeding against the
municipality of Vojka nad Dunajom Vajka, a municipality with a large Hungarian
majority, because their announcements were made in Hungarian first and then repeated in
Slovak (appendix 5). The municipality relied on the Law on the Use of Languages of
National Minorities, which does not specify the order of languages. The Ministry in its
answer explained that the Law on State Language takes precedence over the Law on the Use
of Languages of National Minorities, thus confirming the position that the latter act is
relevant in regulating language use only if specifically referenced by the State Language Act
(appendix 6). The Ministry ordered the municipality to remedy the violation of the Act,
which the municipality complied with.
viii) Language use in healthcare
132. The regulation on the use of languages in healthcare and social care facilities is one of
the most confusing ones. 5(3) of the Law on the Use of Languages of National Minorities
states that citizens of minority ethnicity can use a minority language when communicating
with personnel of healthcare facilities and social care facilities in bilingual communities.
Such facilities will permit the use of minority languages if the facilitys condition allows it.
133. This provision, similarly to other provisions of the law, does not mean that persons have
a right to communicate in the minority language. They can use it, if the party they are talking
to agrees to use it as well. There is absolutely no obligation on doctors or other personnel to
understand a minority language or to provide for interpretation. The law simply does not
prohibit using a minority language. This is true only in bilingual municipalities, therefore it
does not apply to many District and Regional Centres where hospitals are usually located.
Even if all the conditions are met, and a doctor speaking Hungarian would agree to speak
Hungarian to a patient, the facility can decide under the second sentence not to permit the use
of Hungarian under the unclear formulation that its condition does not allow it.
134. According to the original proposal of the 2011 amendment, the facilities personnel
would have had an obligation to communicate in the minority language, and citizens would
indeed have had a right to use the minority language. Because this was changed from
obligation to possibility, the second sentence became superfluous and confusing, it
nevertheless remained in the law.
135. The status of the above provision, however, is very unclear, because the State Language
Act takes precedence over it. In its 8(4), regulating the same matter, it states in the second
sentence that personnel can communicate with a client or patient who has a mother tongue
different than Slovak in a language in which the client and patient can be understood. This
apparently permits only clients and patients not speaking Slovak to use a different language,
as those who do speak Slovak can obviously be understood in Slovak, regardless of their
mother tongue. The fourth sentence, however, states that minority citizens can use the
34
minority language in communicating with personnel in bilingual municipalities, not
mentioning their inability to speak Slovak. The third sentence makes clear that personnel,
however, is not required to speak a minority or foreign language. The Government
Principles interpreting the State Language Act also add in Article 10 that a member of
personnel cannot be obliged to use a minority language even if he speaks it on an adequate
professional level.
136. The result is a very confusing mix, which provides absolutely no rights to minority
members to use their language. They are not prohibited to use the minority language in a
bilingual community (or, alternatively, if they do not speak Slovak), if the personnel
members also speaks it and is willing to speak it, and if the facilitys condition allows it. If
any of these criteria do not apply, the use of minority languages is prohibited. If the
conditions are met, it is the personnels decision how they will communicate with the patient
or client.
137. The state has made no steps at all to improve the chances of minority members to use a
minority language in healthcare or social care facilities by adopting the 2011 amendments or
in the course of their implementation. No effort was made to increase the number of
Hungarian-speaking staff, or incentivize healthcare and social care facilities to use
Hungarian in other ways. In fact some hospitals, such as in Koice and Nitra, reportedly
forbade their staff to speak Hungarian with patients at all. These are both cities which are not
bilingual, but service regions with many bilingual municipalities. Hungarians make a
significant proportion of both their staff and of patients.
138. Hospitals are a critical place of minority language use because they often serve persons
who are not at the top of their capacities. Patients who otherwise have a good command of
Slovak would prefer to speak Hungarian when they are in great pain, dizzy, or their state of
health affects their concentration in other ways. Also, the terminology used in hospitals,
relating to illnesses, symptoms and body parts, is something common citizens do not use on
an ordinary basis, therefore they might have difficulty expressing themselves in Slovak even
though they can be fully fluent in the terminology related to their work, for example. That is
why it would be important to have a right to use the minority language, with a corresponding
obligation on healthcare providers to communicating in it. In practice, however, it is not
uncommon for persons to be humiliated and treated disrespectfully if they offend a Slovak
staff member for not speaking Slovak properly. The newspapers occasionally report such
incidents, affecting both young and old patients,
48
but many more remain unreported.
139. A particularly serious incident took place on the 3 November 2013 in the hospital of
Nov Zmky rsekjvr, which is a bilingual town and seat of a district with the third
largest Hungarian population. A young Hungarian girl with a good command of Slovak
arrived to the emergency room with severe abdomen pain. She was accompanied by her
Slovak partner, who also speaks good Hungarian. The girl was examined by a Bulgarian-
born doctor, Emil Milev, who spoke Slovak with a strong accent, which the girl had
difficulty to understand. Her partner offered that he would translate between Hungarian and
Slovak, but the doctor refused. He yelled at the girl for not speaking proper Slovak, he
refused to examine her, and then wrote on her medical report that the patient does not speak
48
http://watson.sk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1953%3Aqna-slovensku-po-slovenskyq-
ozyvalo-sa-vera-v-noci-v-novozamockej-nemocnici-qszlovakiaban-szlovakulq-visszhangzott-tegnap-az-
ersekujvari-korhazban-&catid=59%3Adefault&Itemid=75; http://ujszo.com/cimkek/velemeny-es-
hatter/2007/10/11/beteg-banasmod
35
Slovak, the doctor does not speak Hungarian, with the diagnosis that she should be
examined elsewhere (appendix 7). The incident was reported to the authorities, but no action
has been taken so far.
140. The public emergency call service (dialling 112) is also not accessible in minority
languages in Slovakia. Even if one calls from Hungarian regions, the operators communicate
only in Slovak. In the case of emergency calls, miscommunication can be fatal, therefore we
consider it very dangerous that the service is not available in Hungarian.
ix) Language use in court proceedings
141. The governments report mentions in para. 170 that minority languages can be used in
criminal proceedings. This, however, applies only to persons not speaking Slovak, therefore
it is irrelevant for Hungarians living in Slovakia, practically all of whom speak Slovak. The
possibility of introducing minority languages to court proceedings was not even considered
by the government in 2011, it was only proposed by the Roundtable of Hungarians in
Slovakia.
142. It should be mentioned that courts in both civil and criminal proceedings accept as
evidence only documents drafted in Slovak. Documents in other languages have to be
officially translated. This seriously limits the use of Hungarian in the legal sphere.
Theoretically contracts of a private nature (apart from employment contracts) could be
drafted in Hungarian, but it is more expensive and cumbersome to use these as evidence in
court proceedings, therefore citizens tend to draft all contracts in Slovak.
x) Public transportation
143. The Act on the Use of MinorityLanguages does not mention public transportation as an
area where minority languages can be used. Train and bus timetables, announcements of
departures on bus and railway stations and in trains are in Slovak only. The linguistic
abilities of railway employees are notoriously deficient: many clerks at ticket windows are
unable to communicate in Hungarian even in towns with Hungarian majority like Komrno
Komrom and trovo - Prkny, not to mention bilingual towns with Slovak majority like
Nov Zmky - rsekjvr, Galanta - Galnta, Senec - Szenc, Roava - Rozsny, and others.
144. In the reported period, several civil associations protested against the unilingual Slovak
communication of the Slovak Railways. On 20 July 2011, activists of Bilingual South
Slovakia announced the arrival of an international train at the trovo station. The Railways
announce arrivals only in Slovak, the activists added Hungarian and English announcements
with a megaphone (video here: http://www.ketnyelvu.info/2011/07/20/the-parkany-project-
2/). On 7 April 2012, they repeated the same in the train itself (video here:
http://www.ketnyelvu.info/2012/04/07/the-parkany-project-ii/). On 24 May 2012, activists of
the Fontos Vagy! association did the same at the Komrno Komrom railway station. They
also submitted a request for the signs on the stations premises to be replaced with bilingual
ones, which was flatly rejected by Slovak Railways (see appendix 8).
145. Communication with conductors takes place in the languages they speak, but many are
afraid that as Railway representatives they are not allowed to communicate in Slovak. This is
technically correct: according to 3(1) of the State Language Act, employees of the Slovak
36
Railways have to communicate in Slovak, and there is no counterbalancing provision or
exception for communication in minority languages in neither language law.
xi) Shops
146. Oral communication in private establishments such as shops, restaurants and services, is
not regulated. It usually depends on the linguistic skills of employees. Some large shops,
however, are alleged to restrict their employees communication in Hungarian. Lidl in
Fiakovo Flek, apparently prohibited its shop clerks to speak Hungarian with each other
and with customers on the ground that their supervisors do not understand it.
xii) Post offices
147. Post offices belonging to the network of the Slovak Post (Slovensk Pota) are not
covered by the Act on the Use of Languages of National Minorities, therefore
communicating in them in Hungarian is theoretically illegal. Their employees are indeed
often instructed not to speak Hungarian. The main post office at the Bratislava railway
station issued a written an instruction on 15 May 2014 to all employees ordering them not to
talk in Hungarian (see appendix 9).
37
IX. Article 11 signs in minority languages
i) Municipality names on road signs
148. The Governments reports mentions in para. 175 that according to the current
regulations, in municipalities where minorities make up more than 20% of the population,
the road signs showing the municipalitys name are accompanied with signs showing the
designation of the municipality in the minority languages. Contrary to the Governments
statement, this regulation did not come into force with the 2011 amendment of the Law on
the Use of Languages of National Minorities it has been in force since 1994. In 2011 it was
merely moved from a separate Act on Denoting Municipalities in Minority Languages to the
Law on the Use of Languages of National Minorities, and the list of municipalities was
updated. There are several problems with the regulation, which the Governments report
does not address.
149. 1) Designations of the municipalitys names in the minority language are placed on a
separate, smaller sign below the sign with the municipalitys name in Slovak. The minority-
language designation is written with smaller inscriptions than the Slovak name. Because
Hungarian designations are often longer than Slovak names, the Hungarian signs are often
barely readable, definitely not by drivers and passengers of vehicles for whom they are
primarily intended. We consider that there is no reason to display the minority designation
with smaller letters on a smaller, separate sign below the Slovak sign, other than to visually
portray the dominance of the Slovak language over minority languages. It is both
discriminatory and derogatory towards minority languages and minority communities.
150. 2) A practical problem with separate Slovak and minority-language road signs is that
Hungarian signs often become victims to vandalism, after which they are not replaced by the
authorities. In 2010, Forum Institute asked the mayors of bilingual municipalities among
others about their experience with vandalism. 33% of Hungarian-populated municipalities
reported that the Hungarian road sign was destroyed by vandals at least once. Most such
incidents happened in Dunajsk Streda - Dunaszerdahely, Rimavsk Sobota - Rimaszombat,
and Levice Lva districts.
49
151. In October 2011, activists of the Bilingual South Slovakia movement documented 76
missing Hungarian road signs in 34 municipalities. They placed a trilingual plaque on the
place of the missing signs, indicating that the absence of Hungarian signs is illegal. They also
prepared a video about the missing signs to initiate a public discussion, widely reported in
the media (available on their website, http://www.ketnyelvu.info/2012/02/28/the-nameless-
villages-project/). They also contacted the Slovakian Road Administration Bureau
(Slovensk sprva ciest), sending them the documentation about the missing signs, and
asking them to replace them. The Road administration responded that the Hungarian signs
would be replaced soon, as their absence is indeed illegal (see appendix 10). The authorities
other response was to initiate criminal proceedings against the activists of Bilingual South
Slovakia for vandalism, which apparently consisted of placing the plaque indicating the
illegality of missing Hungarian signs on places where those were previously destroyed by
vandals.
49
Mrva Marianna, Szilvssy Tmea, Ktnyelvsg a dl-szlovkiai teleplseken a krdves felmrs
eredmnyei, Frum Inzzet, 2010, p. 5.
38
152. When the activist repeated their research in January 2012, they found that the signs had
not been replaced, and in fact new ones are missing. They found altogether 97 missing
Hungarian signs in 43 municipalities, uploaded their pictures on facebook,
50
and notified the
authorities about them. As of July 2014, the signs have still not been replaced.
Road sign with the municipalitys Slovak name, without the missing Hungarian designation
153. Municipalities which were left out of the list of bilingual municipalities, such as Obid
Ebed next to trovo with an 88 per cent Hungarian population, cannot have Hungarian
signs.
154. 3) Municipality names in minority languages are only designations, not names. This
means that their only place and purpose is to be placed on a special road sign denoting the
start and end of the municipality. For all other purposes, the municipalitys name is its
name in Slovak only, without the minority equivalent. Other road signs, maps, public
transport timetables, signs on buildings (see in paras. 157 and 160-61 below), etc. all use the
municipalitys name in Slovak only.
155. 4) Concerning other road signs, the Slovak authorities have long rejected adding the
minority equivalent of municipality names to road signs indicating directions. On 15 October
2011, on road 63 next to Dunajsk Streda Dunaszerdahely, the activists of Bilingual South
Slovakia placed a private road sign, in appearance similar to public road signs, indicating the
directions bilingually to Bratislava Pozsony, Dunajsk Streda Dunaszerdahely, and
Gabkovo Bs. They made a trilingual video about the placement (available on their
website: http://www.ketnyelvu.info/2011/10/30/the-dunaszerdahely-project/). Their stated
50
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.274210942639382.63301.186731761387301&type=3 , and also
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.229454500448360.54503.186731761387301&type=3.
39
motivation was to show that contrary to the authorities statement, minority municipality
names are not displayed on all road signs, and to initiate a public discussion on remedying
this state of affairs.
Road sign placed by the activists of Bilingual South Slovakia on 15 October 2011
156. While the video was widely distributed by Hungarian media and reported in Slovak
media, the authorities only reaction was to remove the sign the following day. Since then, a
number of public road signs have been modified by activists around the country by adding
the Hungarian names of municipalities to the Slovak ones. So far the last of these appeared
on 30 May 2014 in amorn Somorja. The authorities only reaction has been the
immediate removal of Hungarian place names, and the rejection of all proposals for showing
municipal names in minority languages on road signs apart from road signs denoting the start
and end of the municipality.
40
Road sign modified by unknown persons on 30 May 2015
ii) Other names on road signs
157. As mentioned earlier, the law specifies only municipality names which have to be shown
on some road signs. Street names can be shown bilingually depending on the decision of the
municipality. According to Forum Institutes research, in those bilingual municipalities,
which have signs showing street names,
51
only 48 per cent have at least some signs also in
Hungarian.
52
Streets named after other municipalities (such as Bratislavsk cesta, meaning
Bratislava road) are often translated by keeping the municipalitys name in Slovak
(Bratislavai t, instead of the correct Hungarian Pozsonyi t).
158. Other road signs, which are not in the competence of municipalities but state
administration bodies, have no minority language signs at all. The most important of these
are signs showing parts of municipalities. Many municipalities have named parts, which
typically identify previously independent villages which were joined with other, larger
villages or towns. Since these are not mentioned in the law, they do not have signs with
designation in the Hungarian language.
Nov Str (rsjfalu), a part of Komrno-Komrom, cannot have a designation in Hungarian
51
Some small municipalities do not have named streets, only house numbers.
52
Mrva-Szilvssy, supra note 49, p. 5.
41
159. The other important types of road signs which do not have Hungarian designations are
the ones showing the names of regions and districts. Since 2013, activists have frequently
modified these signs by adding the Hungarian translation to the Slovak names. The
Hungarian inscriptions have always been removed immediately by the authorities.
Road signs showing the District and Regional borders modified by unknown activists on 11 June 2014
iii) Signs on public administration buildings
160. The Government states in para. 175 that the municipalitys designation in minority
language is placed on buildings of public administration authorities. That is, however, an
optimistically incomplete statement.
161. In 2012, the Government Offices own research showed that only 76% of the affected
local state administration offices have designations in the minority language.
53
Even those
which have, however, are not translating the municipalitys name to the minority language,
but are keeping it in Slovak. They are relaying on a loophole in the law. 2(6) of the Act on
the Use of MinorityLanguages requires them to translate the offices name, but does not
explicitly sate that the municipalitys name which is part of the offices name must be
translated as well. Therefore the Slovak aov rad Nitra Poboka trovo (Eng. Tax
Office Nitra trovo Branch) is not translated properly to Hungarian as Nyitrai
Adhivatal Prknyi kirendeltsg, but both the Slovak municipality names and grammar
(word order and conjugation) are kept: Adhivatal Nitra Kirendeltsg trovo. We
consider this a very restrictive bad faith interpretation of the law, yet these offices are the
positive examples, because the rest simply ignores the legal obligation!
53
Sprva o stave pouvania jazykov nrodnostnch menn, supra note 45, annex 2,p. 3.
42
The incorrectly translated name of the Nitra Tax Offices trovo Branch
iv) Signs on bus stations
162. The Governments report mentions that municipalitys names in minority languages can
be placed on bus stations. In fact, bus stations are often operated by SAD (Slovensk
autobusov doprava), the Slovak bus company, which rejects the placements of Hungarian
signs on bus stations. According to Forums research, in those 473 bilingual municipalities
which have a bus station or bus stop and it has a sign, 393 have only Slovak signs, and 80
have bilingual signs.
54
These are bus stops which are operated by or are the property of the
municipality.
163. In December 2012, SAD Luenec started with the reconstruction of the bus station in
Rimavsk Sobota Rimaszombat, which is a regional transportation hub serving many
municipalities which mostly have Hungarian majority. In January 2013, the mayors of all the
60 bilingual municipalities and several local civil associations requested the bus company to
place bilingual signs on the Rimavsk Sobota bus station during reconstruction, and to
gradually place bilingual signs in the remaining 60 municipalitys bus stations and bus stops.
The company rejected their request, pointing out that the law only requires it to use Slovak
signs.
v) Signs on railway stations
54
Mrva-Szilvssy, supra note 49, p. 6.
43
164. Signs showing the designations of railway stations in minority languages have become
one of the most controversial topics in the reported period. The Government claims in para.
175 of their report that the 2011 amendment of the Act on the Use of MinorityLanguages
allows the use of designations of municipalities in minority languages also in the
designations of railway stations. What the report fails to mention, however, is that there are
in fact no minority language designations on railway stations, and the authorities consistently
and frequently reject any such requests.
165. Soon after the 2011 amendment was adopted, it turned out that it is in fact the Slovak
Railways right to place minority language signs on railway stations. The Slovak Railways
have refused to place any, citing technical difficulties: because Law no. 513/2009 Col. l. on
Railways was not modified, there was no procedure by which minority signs could be
placed, and there were no technical norms on how minority language signs should look like.
166. In June 2012, activists of Bilingual South Slovakia have renovated the railway station of
Okolin na Ostrove Ekel, a municipality with a 88 per cent Hungarian majority in the
Komrno - Komrom district. They cleaned the station, repaired and painted the walls,
placed a bench in front of it and a clock on the wall, and they also placed a bilingual
timetable on the wall, and added a Hungarian sign below the sign showing the stations name
in Slovak. The video about the project became very popular in the media
(http://www.ketnyelvu.info/2012/07/01/the-ekel-project/).
A Hungarian sign placed on the railway station of Okolin na Ostrove by activists in June 2012
167. The authorities reacted by removing the Hungarian sign. Previously they ignored several
requests for years from the municipality to renovate the stations building, or at least paint it
because it had been covered by obscene graffiti which had disturbed the passengers. This
time it took them a day to take action and remove the Hungarian sign.
168. The activists reacted by placing the Hungarian sign again. When the Railways first
painted over the sign and then removed it again, the municipalitys mayor stated to the news
that the local residents do not care about the Hungarian sign that much. This led to protests
44
by a large crowd of locals, who placed a makeshift Hungarian sign below the Slovak one,
showing the stations Hungarian name and that the municipality of Ekel does care. The
sign was removed by the authorities. Unknown activists placed a new proper Hungarian sign
to the station in December 2012, on Christmas Eve. It was removed by the Railways during
Christmas.
169. In January 2013, lawyers of the Roundtable of Hungarians in Slovakia prepared a request
for municipalities asking the Slovak Railways to place a Hungarian sign on railway stations.
The letter made it clear that there is a legal possibility to place a Hungarian sign: instead of
adding a designation in Hungarian to the Slovak name, the request asked the Railways to
change the railway stations name in such a way that it includes the Hungarian name (for
example, from Komrno to Komrno Komrom). Such bilingual names are not
prohibited, and there are no technical, procedural or other obstacles to placing them.
170. As of 14 February 2013, from those 92 Slovak-Hungarian bilingual municipalities which
had a railway station on their territory, 45 indicated that they had already sent the request to
the Railways or would send it shortly. The Railway first sent an evasive answer, claiming
that it is not legally possible to comply with the request. After a follow up letter explaining
the legal situation, the Slovak Railways sent a flatly rejecting letter, in which they said they
would not initiate the changing of railway station names to bilingual ones because they see
no reason to do it (...povaujeme to za nedvodn...)(appendix 11).
171. On 28 March 2013, Bilingual South Slovakia has launched a public campaign urging
citizens to send a letter to the Ministry of Transportation asking them to solve the question of
bilingual signs on railway stations.
55
The letter was sent by several hundred citizens from all
over the country. The Ministry initially admitted the receipt of 216 letter, later modified this
to 311. On the campaigns facebook page, however, 476 citizens posted pictures of the letters
signed by them and the envelope in which it was placed, showing that at least as many and
likely much more letters had been sent. In its response to the citizens, the Ministry sent a
confusing and inconsistent answer, essentially evading the question (appendix 12). Those
who followed out with a second letter, received a rejection of their proposal (appendix 13).
In each response letter, the Ministry also disclosed the addresses of 10 persons participating
in the letter campaign, which besides being a serious and unlawful breach of privacy, is hard
to understand as anything else than intimidation: it made clear to every campaigner that their
addresses were also disclosed to several other persons.
172. In spring 2013, the Government Plenipotentiary for National Minorities prepared a
legislative proposal which would have eliminated the procedural and technical obstacles
from placing a designation in a minority language of railway stations, relied on previously by
the Ministry of Transportation. This proposal was considered very unsatisfactory by civil
society, because it only conserved the legal situation: it would have allowed the Slovak
Railways to decide whether they want to place a Hungarian designation below the railway
stations Slovak name. Nevertheless, the Government Office, to which the Plenipotentiary is
subordinated, refused to submit the legislative proposal to the National Assembly. The
proposal was later submitted by MPs of the Most-Hd party. Despite previous reassurances
by the Ministry of Transportation that the proposal would be adopted because it does not
actually change the legal situation, it was rejected by the National Assembly on 4 June 2013.
55
http://www.ketnyelvu.info/2013/06/07/45-centtel-a-szlovak-vasut-ketnyelusegeert/
45
This was cited by the Government Plenipotentiary as the main reason behind its resignation
the following day.
173. After several rounds of negotiations with the Ministry of Transportation, MPs of Most-
Hd submitted their proposal again in February 2014. Despite reassurances that the Ministry
and the Slovak Railways support the proposal, it was rejected by the National Assembly on 1
April 2014. Bla Bugr, chair of the Most-Hd party stated that according to the explanation
he received, this had been an act of revenge against Hungarians, because in the second round
of the presidential elections held on 29 March 2014 they overwhelmingly supported the
eventual winner Andrej Kiska against Prime Minister Rbert Fico.
vi) Sings informing about danger
174. Until 2011, in bilingual municipalities, signs with important information (the law gave
examples as to what these include) had to be placed also in minority languages. The 2011
amendment of the Law on the Use of Languages of National Minorities has narrowed this
obligation, which now applies only to signs informing about danger to life, health, safety or
property of citizens (4(2)). However, these signs are standardized, their appearance is
prescribed by technical norms, which contain the inscription only in Slovak. In practice it is
therefore not possible to put them up in a bilingual form. This would be even illegal, as it
would breach the technical norms. One possibility would be to put up the official sign in
Slovak, and place a Hungarian or bilingual makeshift form below it. Pro Civis, a civil
association, has prepared such bilingual forms in 2013 and has offered it to municipalities,
institutions and companies. Very few of them have put them up, since only the Slovak signs
are official, the bilingual ones are not.
175. In 2013, Pro Civis informed the Government Office that despite the legal requirement,
Hungarian minority signs informing about danger are virtually non-existent in Slovakia.
They documented the missing signs in 34 gas stations, and asked the Governments Office to
remedy the situation.
56
Although the Government Offices task is to supervise compliance
with the Act on the Use of MinorityLanguages, they rejected to initiate proceedings for
breaching the law, considering the information as unfounded, without providing explanation.
They did not even cite these missing signs as instances of violations of the Law in their 2013
report on the situation of minority languages.
176. In another reported case, a resident of eliezovce Zselz notified the Government
Office about missing Hungarian signs on danger in the local railway station. On 12 May
2014, the Government Office rejected to initiate proceeding for the missing Hungarian signs
(appendix 14). They argued that only one of the signs fell in the required category, and that
was already replaced with a bilingual one in the meanwhile. This is, however, not true the
person filing notice documented the signs anew on 29 May 2014, and found that the sign
apparently replaced with a bilingual one according to the Government Office is still in fact
the old Slovak-only sign (appendix 15). It is also unclear why the Government Office did
not consider the other signs to be falling within the legal category. The law does not in fact
define which are the signs informing about danger, therefore it is up to the authorities to
interpret the law as they see fit. Because the Government Office did not issue a decision in
the case, the person could not appeal to the courts.
56
http://www.bumm.sk/88684/sorozatosan-megsertik-a-kisebbsegi-nyelvhasznalati-torvenyt.html
46
vii) Touristic signs
177. One of the most bizarre incidents in the reported period relates to signs informing
tourists. These are not specified in the law, therefore they fall under the general rule of the
State Language Act: they must be in Slovak, followed by an optional translation in other
languages. However, touristic signs are also standardized, and the technical norms depicting
them contain information only in Slovak.
178. The municipality in Komrno Komrom renovated their touristic signs in 2013. The
town has a Hungarian majority and is on the border with Hungary, visited by many
Hungarian tourists. They put up the official Slovak touristic signs, and below them a
Hungarian-English translation of the signs inscription in a similarly shaped sign prepared by
the local Fontos Vagy! association.
179. In 2014, however, the municipality was ordered by the Nitra District Office to take down
the Hungarian-English signs, and was threatened with a fine of 33 190 Euros (!) if they do
not comply. The Nitra District Office stated that only the Slovak sign is legal, and the
translation violates Law no. 8/2009 Col. l. on Roads. Because the Office did not issue a
decision, neither the Komrno municipality, nor Fontos Vagy! which prepared the signs
could use a legal remedy against their opinion. That would only be possible if the
municipality refused to take down the Hungarian-English signs, paid the fine, and then
appealed against it. The municipality, however, decided to take down the signs instead.
57
The bottom sign is the apparently illegal translation of the upper signs Slovak text
180. Another incident related to touristic signs took place in January 2013 in the Koice
Kassa Region. The regional self-government, together with the Hungarian Borsod-Abaj-
57
http://ujszo.com/napilap/regio/2014/07/12/eltuntek-a-tobbnyelvu-feliratok
47
Zempln Region, received funds from an EU trans-border project to renovate touristic signs.
While touristic signs put up in the past had been bilingual in the regions bilingual areas, the
new signs put up in 2013 were only in Slovak.
58
According to the Koice District Office,
only these are permitted, bilingual signs would be illegal. In the Hungarian Borsod-Abaj-
Zempln Region, where virtually no Slovaks live, the new touristic signs are bilingual.
A Slovak-only touristic sign put up in a village with Hungarian majority in 2013
viii) The name of Teedkovo - Pered
181. Although not technically a minority sign, the case of Teedkovo - Pered municipality
deserves to be mentioned. Since its establishment in the thirteenth century until 1948, the
municipalitys name was Pered in both Hungarian and Slovak. Its official name in Hungarian
was Pered until 1918 and between 1938-1945, when it belonged to Hungary. Its official
Slovak name was Pered between 1918-1938 and between 1945-1948. In 1948, it was
renamed to Teedkovo by a governmental decree, together with several other municipalities
with Hungarian majority in a post-war Slovakization campaign. Samuel Teedk was a
Slovak historical figure form the 18
th
century, who had no connection to the municipality, he
had never visited it.
182. In 1991, the municipality applied for regaining its historic name, but was rejected by the
Ministry of Internal Affairs without explanation.
183. On 10 March 2012, a local referendum about changing the municipalitys name to Pered
was organized in Teedkovo in accordance with Law no 369/1990 Col. l. on Municipalities.
It was successful: 64.5 per cent of eligible voters took part, and from them 66.4 per cent
supported the change of the name of the municipality from Teedkovo to Pered. The Law on
Municipalities requires half of the eligible voters to participate and half of the participating
voters to support the proposed question for the referendum to be successful.
184. The results of the referendum were sent to the Government of the Slovak Republic for
approval. However, the Government rejected the change of the name by its Decree No. 612
of 16 October 2013. The villages name thus remained Teedkovo.
58
http://www.hirek.sk/video/20130117203542/Egynyelvu-turisztikai-tablakra-valtott-Kassa-Megye.html
48
185. According to the Government Decrees justification, prepared by the Ministry of Internal
Affairs, the change of the name from Teedkovo to Pered could not be approved because
according to the State Language Act all municipalities in Slovakia must have Slovak names
(see annex 13). The decree did not claim that the name Pered would be Hungarian, or that it
would not exist in Slovak, it simply cited the legal provision without explaining how the
name change would breach it. The explanatory report further stressed the historical
prominence of Samuel Teedk, and the fact that the village had been named after him 65
years earlier, but did not raise other arguments or objections that would prevent the change
of the name.
186. On 1 November 2013, local activists of Bilingual South Slovakia replaced the road signs
showing the municipalitys name, Teedkovo, with ones showing Pered.
59
A few days later,
they sent one of the removed Teedkovo signs to the Minister of Internal Affairs, and one to
the Ombudswomans Office, with letters asking them to remedy the situation.
60
The
authorities replaced the newly placed Pered signs with Teedkovo signs, and initiated
criminal proceedings against the activists.
187. The Ombudswoman in her answer of 6 December 2013 confirmed that by rejecting the
valid results of the local referendum, the government violated the local residents right to
participate in public affairs (appendix 16).
188. The Ministry of Internal Affaires first answer of 19 November 2013 argued that the
local referendum could not be approved by the Government, because the name Pered is
already the villages Hungarian designation, and it cannot have the same name in Slovak as
its Hungarian designation (appendix 17).
189. On 9 December 2013, the activists replied to the Ministry of Interiors letter explaining
that several villages in Slovakia have the same name in Slovak as their Hungarian
designation. They explained that the name Pered was the villages Slovak official name
already between 1918-1938 and 1938-1948, therefore there is no linguistic reason why it
could not be its Slovak official name again.
190. The Ministry of Interior replied on 30 December 2013 (see appendix 18). They stated
that Pered is currently not an official municipality name in the Slovak language, and it is not
listed among the most frequently used words in the dictionary of the Slovak language.
Moreover, they replied that Pered is the villages designation in the Hungarian language, and
the villages name must be in the Slovak language. They also confirmed that identical Slovak
names and Hungarian designations of the other municipalities listed by the activists are not
unlawful.
191. The Ministrys reasoning is completely circular. It claims that Pered is not a Slovak
name, because it is not a Slovak word. However, most municipalities have names which do
not mean anything in Slovak. Besides, some have clearly Hungarian- or German-sounding
names. According to the Ministry it is also not a Slovak name, because it is not listed among
the official municipality names. That, however, would be a reason to reject any change of
name: before it is approved, no new municipality name is listed in the official registry of
municipal names. That had never been a reason for rejection, as several municipalities have
59
http://www.ketnyelvu.info/2013/11/01/the-pered-project/
60
http://www.ketnyelvu.info/2013/11/07/the-pered-project-ii/
49
changed their name since 1990 to names which had not (because logically, could not) been
previously listed in the official registry of municipality names. The Ministrys third
argument, according to which Pered cannot be the municipalitys Slovak name because it is
the municipalitys Hungarian designation, is defeated a few sentences later, when they admit
that this is common practice in Slovakia and it is not unlawful. It is simply a fact of life that
some municipality names are similar in Slovak and Hungarian because that is how they
developed over the centuries.
192. The Ministry failed to point to any real legal obstacle which would have prevented to
change the municipalitys name to Pered. Their position can only be explained by outright
discrimination against the municipalitys residents on the ground that 80 per cent of them are
of Hungarian ethnicity. Democracy or not, the states interest is to protect forcibly
Slovakized names from changing them by local residents, on whom they were enforced.
ix) Signs on monuments and memorials
193. As stated by the Government in para. 176, the State Language Act requires that
monuments and memorials have inscriptions also in the state language besides the minority
language. We see no reason which would justify such an interference with private actors
freedom of speech. The regulation also applies to monuments and memorials placed before
the adoption of the State Language Act, unless they fall under specific protection as
historically important monuments.
x) Signs of private nature
194. One of the State Language Acts most restrictive provision is 8(6), which requires that
all signs, advertisements and notices informing the public, especially in stores, sport venues,
in restaurants, on streets, next to roads, in airports, bus stations and railway stations, in public
transportation vehicles are in the state language. It allows translations in other languages
with inscriptions not larger than the inscription in the state language. In bilingual
municipalities, the order of languages is not set; in other municipalities, the state language
has to go first.
195. The provision is formulated very widely, and it affects all types of private signs. One
cannot even place a dangerous dog sign on his door in Hungarian, as it would be contrary
to the law. More importantly, the law severely restricts businesses in communicating with
customers. Several advertisers consider that bilingual shop windows, street posters, leaflets
are too busy, they contain too much text. Their preference therefore would be to have
posters, leaflets and windows alternate languages. This is, however, not possible, as a
Hungarian poster, leaflet, window, or a restaurant menu is illegal. As a consequence, most
such private signs are only in Slovak even in areas with an overwhelming Hungarian
majority, and almost entirely in Slovak in municipalities where Hungarians are above the 20
per cent threshold but do not constitute a majority.
196. The legal restriction is only one of the reasons for this unfortunate state of affairs. The
others are business owners ignorance about the law (many think that bilingual signs are
prohibited), their fear that the law might be changed restrictively and they would have to
replace bilingual signs to Slovak ones. Most importantly, however, the rhetoric surrounding
the adoption of the State Language Act made clear that the state considers Hungarian signs in
public a hostile act against the state. That was the message nationalistic politicians and their
50
followers around the country delivered. It is thus no wonder that to put up a bilingual sign is
seen as a brave, defiant, anti-state act. Most business owners, however, are not in the
business of resistance fighting, and they prefer to blend in peacefully and not became a target
of negative reactions either by the state or Slovak nationalists. In fact, it is not uncommon for
Slovak neo-nazi groups, especially the Slovak Revival Movement Slovensk hnutie obrody
(see para. 74-75 above) to target shops with Hungarian signs.
197. Forum Institute conducted a very comprehensive study in 2009-10, during which pictures
were taken of all signs of public nature and important signs of private nature from all
municipalities from Southern Slovakia where Hungarians live or have lived historically.
According to the research, the proportion of bilingual private signs on shops and
advertisements in Dunajsk Streda Dunaszerdahely, the district town with the highest
proportion of Hungarians in a district with the highest proportion of Hungarians, was 20 per
cent. 80 per cent of the signs were only in Slovak. In Nov Zmky - rsekjvr, where
Hungarians constitute 22 per cent of the population, 4 per cent of these signs were bilingual,
the rest were in Slovak.
198. It should also be mentioned that due to the activities of Bilingual South Slovakia, Fontos
Vagy! and other civil initiatives, which suggested customers to demand Hungarian signs, a
number of stores in the Dunajsk Streda - Dunaszerdahely and Komrno Komrom
districts have replaced their Slovak shop windows and signs with bilingual inscriptions. That,
however, has not been universal. Kaufland, a large chain, has made the opposite step: in its
supermarket in Komrno Komrom it replaced bilingual signs with Slovak ones in 2013.
Despite several public protests by customers who threatened with organized boycott and
flooded the company with complaints, Kaufland has refused to put up bilingual signs.
199. In the reported period, a number of proceedings have been initiated because of Hungarian
advertisements. In March 2010, the My newspaper, a Slovak regional newspaper from Nitra,
received a fine of 1500 Euros from the Slovak Commerce Inspection (SOI Slovensk
obchodn inpekcia) because it published an advertisement in Hungarian of a company from
Hungary. The Komrno local television was fined for broadcasting a Hungarian
advertisement of a local Hungarian newspaper, Delta, and the trovo local television was
fined for broadcasting Hungarian advertisements of companies and private individuals from
Hungary (see para. 86 above). In July 2014, two proceedings were initiated against the
organisers of the Gombaszg Summer Camp, which is a summer event of university students
of Hungarian ethnicity from Slovakia. The Camps advertisement included a sentence, which
was translated to Slovak, but the Camps name was not. The Ministry of Culture is currently
investigating the company which placed these advertisements in the Nov Zmky railway
station, and the Slovak Commerce Inspection has started a procedure against the summer
camps organisers for their advertisements placed on public transportation buses in trovo.
200. We submit that there is no justification with interfering signs of private nature in such a
way, and the legal regulation violates the Framework Convention. Since in practice Slovak
signs are absolutely dominant, the states obligation should be to support private business
owners in putting up bilingual signs. They could be encouraged by financial support to cover
translation costs, or a public campaign oriented at citizens, which would make it clear that
bilingual signs are no longer seen as a threat to the state and the Slovak nation, but quite the
contrary, they are welcome and encouraged. As a last resort, the state could require bilingual
signs in bilingual territories legally. As a first step, however, it could simply extend the
protection to those businesses that have bilingual signs and are threatened by Slovak
51
nationalists. By not doing that, and requiring all signs to be in Slovak but having no
requirements for minority language, it sends a very wrong message.
xi) A concluding note on signs
201. A common theme of the above lengthy descriptions is an important change that has taken
place in the reported period. The previously passive Hungarian civil society in Slovakia has
become very active in demanding more opportunities to use the Hungarian language, and
especially demanding Hungarian signs, both of private and public nature. Municipalities,
individual citizens, customers, NGOs and informal movements have all participated in this
process. Bilingual South Slovakia, the largest among such organisations, has apparently
more than a hundred activists around the country, and ten thousand members on facebook.
Bilingual Gmr and Ngrd from the Rimavsk Sobota - Rimaszombat and Luenec -
Losonc regions, Fontos Vagy! from Komrno - Komrom, and Pro Civis from the Dunajsk
Streda - Dunaszerdahely region are similar organisations with many activists, members and
supporters. There is no doubt that Hungarians are showing sufficient demand for
displaying Hungarian signs in areas where they live. Such demand is, however, strictly
rejected by the state on all fronts. We submit that this practice and the unwillingness to
change it violate Article 11 of the Framework Convention.
52
X. Article 12 access to textbooks
202. Teachers of minority schools complain on a regular basis against the Governments
policy on textbooks. Only textbooks approved by the Ministry of Education can be used in
schools. In Hungarian, these are translation of Slovak textbooks, which are often completely
inappropriate for Hungarian students. Especially textbooks on history are completely
misinforming the pupils about the history of Slovakia and Hungarians in the country, and are
considered very derogatory and prejudiced against Hungarians. These should not be used in
any school, but are especially inappropriate for Hungarian schools. For example, the
textbooks contain sentences such as the land of our ancestors was attacked in the 9
th
century
by Magyars that statement makes no sense to a Magyar pupil.
203. Teachers are also complaining that the general quality of the textbooks is poor, and they
were translated inaccurately. For some subjects they would prefer to use private textbooks
from Hungary, but these are not allowed by the Ministry.
204. In December 2013, a legislative proposal by the party Most-Hd, which would have
introduced the teaching of the national culture of minorities for minority students, was
rejected by parliament.
61
The amendment was supposed to enable the learning about
Hungarian culture in Hungarian schools, and for textbooks to be prepared for this purpose. It
is absurd that these were rejected in Slovakia. It would be appropriate if not only Hungarians,
but also Slovaks would learn about Hungarian culture, and all would learn about the other
minority cultures making up the society of Slovakia today.
61
http://www.sme.sk/c/7042685/predmety-o-narode-mensiny-v-narodnostnych-skolach-nebudu.html
53
XI. Article 14 right to education
i) Instruction of Hungarian in Slovak schools
205. In para. 206 of its report, the Government claims that schools with instruction in Slovak
use the practice of elective lessons for teaching the languages of national minorities. The
Government, however, does not give an example of a Slovak school where Hungarian is
taught. In fact, the only example it gives, are 4 Slovak schools offering Ukrainian classes
(para. 219).
206. We submit that there is no Slovak school in the country where Hungarian language is
taught. Some Slovak schools have a significant proportion of Hungarian pupils, some,
located in Hungarian-populated areas, even a majority. These students have no possibility to
learn their mother tongue in school which seriously undermines their ability to become fluent
in Standard Hungarian and to learn to read and write in it.
207. We consider that Hungarian courses in Hungarian-Slovak areas should not only be
available to Hungarian students only. Slovak students, especially those living in Hungarian-
majority areas or descended from mixed families would also benefit from learning
Hungarian.
ii) The language of pedagogic documentation
208. As confirmed in para. 228 of the Governments report, the regulation on the language of
pedagogic documentation in minority schools has not changed in the reported period. All
pedagogic documentation has to be bilingual, including internal documents of teachers
relating to the education process, which no one ever reads except them. This seriously
burdens the teachers and administrative staff of this school. There is no reason why these
documents had to be translated to Slovak, especially given that School Inspectors visiting
minority schools must have command of the relevant minority language.
62
209. Several legislative proposals, at least three to our knowledge, have been rejected in the
reported period (one during the Radiov-
63
and two during the current Fico-government),
64
which would have allowed most pedagogic documents of internal nature to be produced only
in the schools language of instruction.
iii) Geographic names in textbooks
210. As the Government confirms in para. 229, the regulation on the use of geographical
names in textbooks has not changed in the reporting period. We consider it restrictive that in
cartographic works, geographic names are only stated in Slovak. This is especially confusing
on historic maps, but generally, the practice of placing Slovak-only maps in Hungarian
textbooks seems to serve no other purpose than confuse pupils.
62
Act No. 596/2003 Col. L. on state administration in education.
63
The original proposal amending the Law on Minority Languages in 2011.
64
One submitted by the Most-Hd party, defeated in December 2013, one submitted by MP Peter Osusk (SaS),
defeated in June 2014.
54
211. Currently a new Act on Geodesy and Cartography is being discussed, which includes
fines for using other than Slovak geographic names in maps, textbooks and the press,
including if these works are in a foreign language (20(1) and 21(1)e) of the proposal).
65
iv) Instruction of Slovak as a foreign language
212. A widely held belief about Hungarian schools, fuelled by members of the Government
(see para. 65 above), is that pupils there do not learn Slovak properly. The proposed
solutions typically involve expanding education in Slovak to the expense of Hungarian
instruction. Hungarian teachers, on the other hand, have been raising for a long time the issue
of the improper instruction of the Slovak language. Slovak is taught as a state language,
meaning that students learn literature and complex grammar from the very beginning, instead
of communication. This is completely inappropriate for those students who live in areas with
Hungarian majority, who may hear Slovak in school for the first time in their life. It is no
wonder that many students learn better English or German than they learn Slovak.
213. Hungarian teachers, parents, and politicians have lobbied a lot for Slovak to be taught as
a second language in Hungarian schools, which means it would be taught similarly to
foreign languages, methodologically adapted to the language skills of pupils. These
proposals have, however, always been rejected by the Ministry of Education. In December
2013, a legislative proposal by the Most-Hd party, which would have introduced the
teaching of Slovak as a second language, was rejected by parliament.
66
The issue has not
been resolved since then, Slovak is still taught inappropriately and ineffectively in Hungarian
schools.
v) Abolishing small schools
214. One of the most controversial decisions of the Fico government has been the mandatory
abolishment of small schools, that is schools with few pupils per class. Until 2013, such
schools could exist by support from the local self-government. However, by amending Act
no. 24/2008 Col. l on Education in 2013, the Government forbade local self-governments to
maintain such schools, even from their own funds.
215. While the abolishment had impact across the countrys whole territory, it
disproportionately affected Hungarian schools. These are often smaller than Slovak schools
because many Hungarian pupils attend Slovak schools, while virtually no Slovak pupils
attend Hungarian schools. From the 441 schools affected, 81 schools, or 18 per cent, were
Hungarian. The country had 2204 primary schools at that time, 1939 Slovak and 265
Hungarian. 18,56 per cent of the Slovak schools and 30,56 per cent of the Hungarian schools
were closed.
216. The matter is very serious. The government used the size of schools as the only criterion
for abolishment, other factors, such as the availability of an alternative school, was not taken
into account. Some of the Hungarian schools abolished were the only ones in their region,
which means that pupils now have to travel forty kilometres to the next Hungarian school, or
enrol in the local Slovak school. It is no doubt that many will opt for Slovak schools, and
65
https://lt.justice.gov.sk/Document/DocumentDetails.aspx?instEID=191&matEID=7090&docEID=354177&docFo
rmEID=-1&docTypeEID=1&langEID=1
66
http://www.sme.sk/c/7042685/predmety-o-narode-mensiny-v-narodnostnych-skolach-nebudu.html
55
they will be lost for the Hungarian education system, which will make the situation of
Hungarian schools in Slovakia even bleaker.
217. To make matters more serious, the government did not consult the plan with
representatives of minorities at all. Hungarians could not present their concerns and propose
alternatives or modifications. The matter led to increased tensions, culminating in a
demonstration in Bratislava, in front of the National Assembly, on 5 December 2013, on the
day of the adoption of the law. Several hundred people attended, mostly Hungarians, but
Slovaks as well.
218. Even if the government wanted to, it will be very hard to remedy this step. Once a
Hungarian school is abolished, and students are enrolled in Slovak schools, it is virtually
impossible to reopen it. In the history of modern Slovakia we are aware of only one
successful attempt, in Klasov Kalsz, but even there the Hungarian school had to be closed
again after a few years.
56
XII. Article 15 Effective participation in public affaires
i) Government Plenipotentiary for National Minorities
219. The Governments report mentions in para. 10 that in 2010, the Deputy Prime Minster
for Human Rights and National Minorities continued to perform his tasks. We would like to
clarify that the position of the Deputy Prime Minister was abolished in 2012. The post of the
Government Plenipotentiary for National Minorities was created instead. The Commissioner
is not a member of the government, he is an employee of the Government Office (rad vldy
SR), with a smaller staff, lower competencies and responsibilities compared to the Deputy
Prime Minister.
220. The first Government Plenipotentiary resigned in June 2013 after the National Assembly
rejected a legislative proposal clarifying terminological issues concerning the use of minority
signs on railway stations. The post has been vacant since then, no new Government
Plenipotentiary for National Minorities has been appointed, which resulted in serious lack of
leadership in the Plenipotentiarys Office, and worsening relationship between the
Governments Office and the larger minorities, especially Hungarians.
ii) Changes in the Government Committee of National Minorities and Ethnic
Groups
221. The Government claims in para. 239 that the respective minorities representation in the
Committee of National Minorities and Ethnic Groups corresponds to their proportion in the
population of the state. In reality, however, Hungarians have 5 out of 23 seats of minorities
on the Committee, while they alone make up two thirds of the countrys minority population.
222. To make matters worse, the Committee has changed its rules of procedure on 12
November 2013. Hungarians now have only 1 vote, similarly to all the other minorities. This
ensures that the smallest minorities, voting with the Governments Offices representative
(the person authorized to perform tasks of the Plenipotentiary, as the Governments report
names her) for the governments position, can always outnumber the large minorities, the
Hungarians, Roma, Ruthenians, Ukrainians and Czechs.
223. The change of procedures was in fact itself contrary to the Committees procedural rules,
as no such proposal was submitted to the delegates at least 10 days before the session, as
required by the Committees Statutes. The delegates came to the session of 12 November
2013 totally unaware of the issue. It was presented to them on the spot by the representative
of the Serbian minority, whose daughter was employed in the Government Office. Despite
the larger minorities protests and despite the fact that one of the Ruthenian representatives
was not yet present, the acting Chair ordered to vote for the proposal, which was adopted by
one vote. Despite the breach of procedural rules, the change of the Statutes was approved by
the Government Council on Human Rights, chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
224. Since November 2013, the Committee has become a mockery of minority participation.
Hungarian delegates experienced that all their proposals were defeated with the help of the
less numerous minorities delegates. Instead, the Committee regularly praised the
governments work and expressed satisfaction with the situation of minorities, the enjoyment
of language rights, the level of support to minority culture, etc.
57
225. In 2014, new minority representatives were elected to the Committee. The Government
Office changed the rules of election, without consulting current Committee members.
According to the new rules, each candidate has to submit 5 essays justifying his or her plans
as a member of the Committee, which will be evaluated according to unknown standards by
bureaucrats of the Government Office, and only candidates achieving a sufficient number of
points will be admitted for elections. This practice is not only bizarre, but also exceptional in
that it has no counterpart in other Committees to the Government Council for Human Rights.
Its purpose seems to be to screen out inconvenient candidates. The Hungarian candidates
collectively refused to comply with this requirement, therefore in July 2014 the Government
Office had no option but to permit them all to stand for election.
226. We consider that the Committee, even in its form before November 2013, is not a body
meeting the requirements of Article 15 of the Framework Convention. It is a consultative
body to the Government Council for Human Rights, without any decision-making powers.
The legislative changes concerning the language laws, financing of minority cultures,
abolishing small schools, were either not even consulted with the Committee, or if they were,
its views were not taken into account.
227. Another weakness of the Committee is that it is comprised by all the countrys 13
minority groups, which share nothing but that fact that they are in a numerical minority. It is
obvious that the needs and interests of some larger minorities are very different from most of
the smaller minorities. Hungarians are practically the only one affected by the language laws
(and tangentially Ruthenians and Ukrainians as well), they are the only ones with a
developed education system, regional TV broadcasters, etc. Roma have many specific issues
related to their socio-economic status. It makes absolutely no sense that small minorities, not
affected at all by most of the measures affecting the larger minorities, formulate and
represent the minorities official position on these matters.
228. This does not mean that the Committee should be abolished. It can be retained as a forum
for discussion for matters that do concern all minorities, however few they are. It is,
however, unable to fulfil the requirements of Article 15, requiring effective participation of
minorities in public affairs. With regard to the Hungarian minority, a body with decision-
making powers at least with regard to the communitys internal matters, supervising cultural,
educational, linguistic and other issues, seems essential.
iii) Members of Parliament
229. The Government report lists with satisfaction the number of seats in Parliament of the
Hungarian minority. This, however, disguises the fact that there are no provisions in Slovak
law to support or enable minorities parliamentary representation. Hungarians tended to be
overrepresented until 2010 not due to some preferential treatment, but merely as a result of
their electoral success. However, in the last two parliamentary elections, in 2010 and 2012,
the Party of the Hungarian Coalition (SMK-MKP), supported by roughly half of the
Hungarian community, gathered only 4.33% and 4.28% of the votes, and gained no seats in
Parliament. Only the Most-Hd party, supported by the other half of the Hungarian
community and some Slovak voters, is represented in the National Assembly. Currently there
are 10 Hungarian Members of Parliament (some of Most-Hds MPs are Slovak), which
comprises 6.66% of all seats, below Hungarians proportion on the population.
58
230. The numerical proportion of minority MPs should not be the only measure of successful
minority participation in public life, and minority-only parties the only model of political
representation. It is more important that the parliament actually adopts minority-friendly
policies. However, it is reasonable and not uncommon in Europe to support the
parliamentary representation of minorities. In Slovakia, this could take the form of cancelling
the 5% threshold necessary for gaining access to the National Assembly for parties
representing minorities. We note that so far no provisions of that kind have been adopted.
iv) Regional division
231. It is important to note that the countrys administrative division is heavily discriminati ng
against Hungarians. In 1996, 79 districts were created. Those in the North are on average
smaller, the Southern ones are larger with a northern-southern shape, to ensure that
Hungarians do not have a majority in them (apart from 2 districts, Dunajsk Streda
Dunaszerdahely and Komrno Komrom). Also, 8 regions were created. These are
artificial formations, consisting of districts without any economic, transportation, historical,
or other connections. The only purpose of the 8 regions was to make sure Hungarians do not
have a majority in any of them.
232. The regional electoral system was also designed in a way that makes it impossible for a
Hungarian regional chair to be elected. The elections have two rounds, and in the second
round Slovak parties and voters unite against the Hungarian candidate. The electoral district
borders were also gerrymandered: because Hungarians achieved majority in the first regional
elections in the Nitra regional assembly, in June 2008 the Nov Zmky district was divided
into two.
67
A small trovo Prkny voting district was separated from the district, with a
Hungarian majority, were Hungarian candidates easily win the 3 seats. In the remaining
Nov Zmky rsekjvr voting district, the Hungarians proportion fell below 20 per cent,
and Slovak candidates win all the 8 seats there. Until the change, all 11 seats from the district
were won by Hungarian candidates.
233. The District and Regional division was created in 1996 and 2001, but they are still in
force today. No government has taken steps to change it. The state is maintaining an
inefficient, unnatural and economically unproductive system whose only aim is to suppress
Hungarians right to participate in public and economic life.
67
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59
XIII. Article 16 altering the proportion of the population
234. The Governments report submits in para. 243 that no changes have taken place in the
reported period with regard to the administrative division. Connected to the previous article,
we note that the administrative division, which is discriminating against the Hungarian
minority in the political, economic and social spheres, and presents numerous obstacles in
realizing their linguistic and other rights as well, is still in force today. The states duty is not
to maintain this system, but to bring it into compliance with the Framework Convention.
60
Appendices
1. Government decree no. 247 from 6 June 2012 about allocating funds to districts Rimavsk
Sobota, Revca and Poltr
2. IVO research on Extremism, 2012 - title page and Executive Summary in English
3. The Ministry of Internal Affairs rejection of the Fontos Vagy! associations registration
request, 29 October 2013
4. The Ministry of Internal Affairs order to fill out bilingual forms only in Slovak, sent to all
registries on 13 June 2012
5. The Ministry of Cultures letter to municipality Vojka nad Dunajom initiating a supervisory
proceeding for the language of public announcements, 1 July 2013
6. The Ministry of Cultures second letter to municipality Vojka nad Dunajom, confirming the
primacy of the State Language Act over the Law on the Use of Languages of National
Minorities, 24 July 2013
7. Doctors report from the Nov Zmky hospital rejecting emergency examination because the
patient allegedly does not speak Slovak, 3 November 2013
8. The Slovak Railways rejection to make bilingual signs in the Komrno railway station, 4
May 2012
9. The Slovak Posts office at the Bratislava railway station ordering their employees not to
speak in Hungarian, May 2014.
10. The Slovakian Road Administration Bureaus letter promising the replacement of missing
road signs with Hungarian municipality designations, 24 January 2012
11. The Slovak Railways letter rejecting to make railway stations name bilingual, 5 March
2013
12. The Ministry of Transportations answer to citizens petition for bilingual railway signs, 17
April 2013
13. The Ministry of Transportations second answer to citizens petition for bilingual railway
signs, 27 June 2013
14. The Government Offices rejection to initiate a proceedings for the missing Hungarian signs
on the eliezovce railway station, 12 May 2014
15. Signs on the eliezovce railway station before and after the Government Offices rejection
16. The Ombudswomans letter confirming that by rejecting the results of the referendum in
Teedkovo, the government violated local residents right to participate in public affairs, 6
December 2013
17. The Ministry of Internal Affairs letter of 19 November 2013 arguing that the local
referendum in Teedkovo could not be approved
18. The Ministry of Internal Affairs second letter of 30 December 2013 arguing that the local
referendum in Teedkovo could not be approved
VLDA SLOVENSKEJ REPUBLIKY
Uznesenie vldy SR slo 247/2012 strana 1
UZNESENIE VLDY SLOVENSKEJ REPUBLIKY
. 247
zo 6. jna 2012
k nvrhu na uvonenie prostriedkov z rezervy vldy SR
slo materilu: 19122/2012
Predkladate: podpredseda vldy a minister financi
Vlda
A. schvauje
A.1. nvrh na uvonenie prostriedkov z rezervy vldy SR;
B. uklad
podpredsedovi vldy a ministrovi financi
B.1. uvoni z rezervy vldy SR finann prostriedky vo vke 3 mil. eur poda
prlohy . 1 k uzneseniu vldy
do 29. jna 2012.
Vykon: podpredseda vldy a minister financi
VLDA SLOVENSKEJ REPUBLIKY
Uznesenie vldy SR slo 247/2012 strana 2
Prloha . 1
k uzneseniu vldy SR
slo 247/2012
Obec, mesto, VC
ako vlastnk
el
Suma v
eurch
Poltr Dobudovanie POLIKLINIKY Poltr 500 000
Ozdn Protipovodov opatrenia 3 000
Kokava nad Rimavicou
Rekontrukcia miestnych komunikci a verejnch
priestranstiev 10 000
Mldzovo
Rekontrukcia kultrneho domu, poiarnej zbrojnice
a verejnch priestranstiev 10 000
Selce Prstavba a prestavba kultrneho domu 10 000
oltska Rekontrukcia budovy kultrneho domu 10 000
ubkovo Rekontrukcia podkrovia kultrneho domu 7 000
Breznika
Rekontrukcia a modernizcia budovy zkladnej
koly s materskou kolou 13 900
Breznika Rekontrukcia strechy domu smtku 10 300
Cinobaa Rekontrukcia domu smtku 13 500
esk Brezovo Rekontrukcia a modernizcia obecnho rozhlasu 13 500
Hradite Oprava spoloenskej sly kultrneho domu 13 500
Hrniarska Ves Rekontrukcia budovy kultrneho domu 13 500
Hrniarske Zaluany Rekontrukcia budovy materskej koly 13 500
Kalinovo Oprava a modernizcia obecnho rozhlasu 13 000
Krn Rekontrukcia budovy kultrneho domu 13 500
Mlinec Rekontrukcia materskej koly 13 500
Poltr drba verejnho osvetlenia 11 700
Rovany
Rekontrukcia budovy kultrneho domu, vmena
okien a dver 13 500
Suany Oprava a modernizcia atn na futbalovom ihrisku 4 700
Uhorsk Rekontrukcia budovy kultrneho domu 13 500
Utek
Rekontrukcia a modernizcia bytovho domu slo
841 12 100
Vek Ves Oprava a modernizcia sly kultrneho domu 5 100
Zlatno Rekontrukcia a modernizcia miestneho rozhlasu 11 700
BBSK
Spojen kola Poltr - rekontrukcia objektu na
elezninej ulici . 5, Poltr 246 000
Rimavsk Sobota Oprava a rekontrukcia miestnych komunikci 332 000
Rimavsk Sobota
Oprava a rekontrukcia budovy zkladnej koly
Dobinskho ul. 50 000
VLDA SLOVENSKEJ REPUBLIKY
Uznesenie vldy SR slo 247/2012 strana 3
Rimavsk Sobota
Oprava a rekontrukcia budovy materskej koly na
Dobinskho ul. 30 000
Rimavsk Sobota
Oprava a rekontrukcia budovy materskej koly na
Rybrskej ul. 25 000
Rimavsk Sobota
Oprava a rekontrukcia strechy na budove Ekorelaxu
na Hviezdoslavovej ul. 5 000
Hna
Oprava a rekontrukcia miestnych komunikci a
parkovsk 200 000
Klenovec Vybudovanie viacelovej portovej haly 200 000
Tisovec
Rekontrukcia a oprava portovho arelu Rudolfa
Valenta 35 000
Tisovec Vmena okien na budove kultrneho domu 32 000
Babinec
Zemn prca a nkup materilu na protipovodov
opatrenia 13 000
Hrachovo
Vybudovanie varovnho systmu a rekontrukcia
obecnho rozhlasu 10 000
Hruovo Oprava strechy na budove kultrneho domu 3 500
Kraskovo
Rekontrukcia budovy kultrneho domu a obecnho
radu 12 000
Potok Oprava a rekontrukcia strechy na poiarnej zbrojnici 5 000
Rimavsk Baa Oprava a modernizcia budovy telocvine 10 000
Rimavsk Brezovo Rekontrukcia chodnka 3 000
erenany Prstavba k poiarnej zbrojnici 4 000
Krokava Oprava a regulcia protipoiarnej ndre v obci 7 500
Kociha Rekontrukcia budovy kultrneho domu 2 000
Kyjatice
Vybudovanie informanej kancelrie kyjatickej
kultry 3 000
Kruno Rekontrukcia ndvoria kultrneho domu 3 000
Popro Rekontrukcia hasiskej ndre 3 000
Rovn Rekontrukcia budovy kultrneho domu 3 000
Strnska Rekontrukcia obecnho rozhlasu 3 000
panie Pole Vmena okien na budove kultrneho domu 3 000
Zacharovce Oprava strechy na budove kultrneho domu 3 000
Sirk
Oprava a rekontrukcia kolskej jedlne pri zkladnej
a materskej kole 80 000
Ratkovsk Bystr Oprava a rekontrukcia a oprava kultrneho domu 20 000
Ratkovsk Bystr
Oprava a rekontrukcia a oprava miestnej
komunikcie 30 000
Mokr Lka Oprava a rekontrukcia kultrneho domu 30 000
Mokr Lka Oprava a rekontrukcia miestnej komunikcie 50 000
Lubenk Oprava a rekontrukcia miestnej komunikcie 30 000
Lubenk Oprava a rekontrukcia fasdy kultrneho domu 8 000
Turok Vmena strenej krytiny na budove kultrneho 6 000
VLDA SLOVENSKEJ REPUBLIKY
Uznesenie vldy SR slo 247/2012 strana 4
strediska
Gemersk Teplice Prstavba socilnych zariaden pri kultrnom dome 15 000
Gemersk Sad Oprava a rekontrukcia miestnej komunikcie 10 000
Chvalov Rekontrukcia kultrneho domu - oprava strechy 10 000
Skereovo Rekontrukcia verejnch priestranstiev 6 000
Hrlica
Revitalizcia verejnho priestranstva v centre obce,
nkup laviiek, odpadkovch koov, informanch
tab, vlajkovho stoiara a inho mobiliru. 5 000
Revca
Rekontrukcia a modernizcia interiru Mestskho
domu kultry 100 000
Revca
Rekontrukcia a modernizcia kultrneho domu v
miestnej asti Revka 15 000
Revca
Vstavba novch a rekontrukcia jestvujcich
portovch ihrsk a portovch plch multifunknho
portovho arelu 160 000
Revca
Oprava a rekontrukcia miestnych komunikci a
vstavba novch parkovacch plch 425 000
Spolu 3 000 000
3. The Ministry of Internal Affairs rejection of the Fontos Vagy! associations registration request
29 October 2013
Y6Len{ o6n
Ing. Donald ,4.116
starosta
obecny rirad
Vojka nad Dunajom 150
930 3l Vojka nad Dunajom
VaSe iislo/zo dfia
Ministersfvo kultfrv Slovenskej republiky
sekcia umenia a Stdtneho
jazyka
' Nrimestie
SNP 33, 813 31 Bratislava I
NaIe iislo
MK 1 5 1 3/20 13
-242/
tI27 1
Vybavuje/linka Bratislava
PhDr. Skorecovh /402 1.7
"
2013
Vec:
PouZfvanie St6tneho
jazykapri
vyhlasovari oznamov prostrednictvom miestneho rozhlasu
Yaieny p6n starosta,
obraciame sa na Vds v sirvislosti s pouZivanfm Statneho
jazyka
ajazyka mad'arskej
narodnostnej men5iny pri zverejilovani oznamov prostrednictvom miestneho rozhlasu v obci
Vojka nad Dunajom.
PouZivanG $finehoJazyka ajazykov narodnostnlfch menSin vo verejnom styku upravuje
zfkon NR SR t,. 27011995 Z. z. o St6tnom
jazyku
Slovenskej republiky v zneni neskor5ich
predpisov, ktory v
$
5 ods. 3 stanovuje:
,,Oznamy
urdend na informovanie verejnosti
prostrednictvom miestneho rozhlasu alebo prostrednictvom in;fch technickych zariadeni sa
zverejf,ujri v St6tnom
juyk
;
tieto oznamy moZno zverejnit' aj v inom
jazyku po ich zverejnenf
v Stitnom
jaryku."
Z6kon teda tryLaduje, aby sa pri lyhlasovani oznamov prostrednictvom
miestneho rozhlasu dodrZiavalo poradie jazykov,
t.
j.
aby oznam v Stdtnom
jazyku
odznel pred
jeho
odvysielanim v mad'arskom
jazyku.
Ako v5ak vyplfva z podnetu obdanov zaevidovan6ho
na Ministerstve kultury Slovenskej republiky, toto poradie sa pri vyhl6seni oznamov
prostrednictvom miestneho rozhlasu v obci Vojka nad Dunajom nedodrZalo.
Ztohto d6vodu V6s Ziadame oposkytnutie inform6cie vakom poradi boli vposlednom
obdobi odvysieland dvojjazydn6 oznamy a o opatreniach, ktor6 v pripade nesriladu so zSkonom
o 5t6tnom
jazykuprijal
obecn;i urad nazabezpedenie n6pravy.
VaSu odpoved'odakSvame do 18.
jfla
2013.
S pozdravom
Mgr. Zuzana Komarov6, PhD.
gener6lna riaditellka
/)- /
')f
4ltrfr,VtAVt
Telef6n
+421-2-20482 ttl
Fa"x
+421-2-20482 375
Bankovd spojenie
St6tna pokladnica
7000071652/8180
r eo 00165182
e-mail internet
su@culture.gov.sk www"culture.gov.sk
Ministersfvo kultfry Slovenskej republiky
sekcia umenia a Stftneho
jazyka
Nimestie SNP 33" 813 31 Bratislava 1
Yhleny pdn
Ing. Donald ,4.116
starosta
Obecny iuad
Vojka nad Dunajom 150
930 31 Vojka nad Dunajom
VaSe iislo/zo dfla
4301213
NaKe iislo
MKrs13l20t3-24211284
VybavujeAinka Bratislava
PhDr. Skorecov6l402 24. 7. 2013
Vec: PouZivanie St6tneho
jazykapri
vyhlasovani oznamov v obecnom rozhlase v obci Vojka nad
Dunajom
YflLeny piin starosta,
odpoved6me na VriS list zo 16.
jrila
2013, v ktorom ste sa vyjadrili k pouZivaniu St6tneho
jazykapri
vyhlasovani oznxnov v obecnom rozhlase v obci Vojka nad Dunajom.
Vysielanie dvojjazy(:nych oznamov vo Va5ej obci prostrednictvom obecn6ho rozhlasu, ktor6
podfa V65ho vy'jadrenia pravidelne uskutodiluje obecny rirad, nepochybne prispieva
k zabezped,eniu v5eobectej zrozumitellnosti zverejilovanych informfucii a k zlep5ovaniu spoluZitia
v obci s n6rodnostne zmie5anym obyvatellstvom.
Opiitovne si V6s vSak dovollujeme upozornif na nevyhnutnost' dodrZania poradia
dvojjazydnych oznamov tak, ako to vyLaduje platn6 pr6vna fprava. V zmysle tejto ripravy
je
obe_c_foytt4q zabeZpedlt'yyqielanie obecn6ho rozhlasu v srilade so z6konom d. 27011995 Z" z.
o Stdtnom
jazyku
Slovenskej republiky v zneni neskor5ich predpisov tak, aby informdcie urdend
verejnosti odzneli najsk6r v St6tnom
j
azyku a nfsledne v
jazyku
ndrodnostnej men5iny.
Zikon d. 18411999 o pouZivani jazykov
narodnostnych men5in v znetrj neskor5ich predpisov
m6 prednost' len r,.tedy, ak nari z6kon o St6tnom
jazyku
v prislu5nom ustanoveni odkazuje.
Zikladn6 prednostn6 postavenie ziikona o Strltnom
jazyku
vyplyva z
$
1 ods. 4, ktory upravuje
okrem in6ho
.aj
vztah zilkona o St6tnom
jazyku
azil<ona o pouZivani
jazykov
niirodnostnych
men5in:
,,Ak
tento zhkon neustanovuje inak, na pouZivanie jazykov
n6rodnostnych men5in
aetnic[fch skupin sa vzt'ahujir osobitn6 predpisy." ZSroveilzirkon o St6tnom
jazyku
$
5 ods. 3
jednoznadne
stanovuje:.
,,Oznamy
urden6 na informovanie verejnosti prostrednictvom miestneho
rozhlasu alebo prostrednictvom inych technickych zariadeni sa zverejriujri v St6tnom
jazyku;
tieto
oznamy moZno zverejni( aj v inom
jazyku po ich zverejneni v Stftnom
jaryku.""
Citovan6
ustanovenie tykajrice sa vysielania miestneho (obecn6ho) rozhlasu neodkazuje a ani sa
neodvolAva na nijaky pr6vny predpis, ktorf by ho upravoval podrobnej5ie alebo inym sp6sobom
ako z6kon o St6tnom
jazryku"Vo
vysielani miestneho rozhlasu v ktorejkolivek obci na Slovensku
m6 5t6tny
jazyk
prednost'pred ostatnymi
jazykmi
pouZivanymitauzemi na5ej republiky.
YdLeny p6n starosta, ako irstredny org6n St6tnej spr6vy v oblasti starostlivosti o 5t6tny
jatyk
V6s Ziadame o zabezpedenie vysielania prostrednictvom obecn6ho rozhlasu v srilade s platnou
pr6rmou fpravou. VaSu odpoved'odak6vame najneskdr do 9.. augusta 2013.
/
S pozdravom
/t
{ n
'{.rtw%rn
Msr
"
Zuzana Kom6rov6. PhD
"
gener6lna riaditel'ka
vymeno van 6 na zastupo vanie
Telefon
+421-2-20482 ttl
e-mail internet
su@cuiture.gov.sk www.culture"gov.sk
Fax
+421-2-20482 375
Bankovd spojenie
St6tna pokladnica
7000071652i 81 80
r co 00165182
lrdr Jrr @. OX /c/5
7. Doctors report from the Nov Zmky hospital rejecting emergency examination
because the patient allegedly does not speak Slovak
3 November 2013
8. The Slovak Railways rejection to make bilingual signs in the Komrno railway station
4 May 2012
9. Order by the Slovak Post forbidding their employees to speak in Hungarian
Bratislava railway station Post office
15 May 2014.
Pavel Pavlsek
generlny riadite
Bratislava 24.01.2012
4703/2012/0001/2776
Ven Dvojjazyn Jun Slovensko,
vo Vaom otvorenom liste zo da 19.01.2012 ns upozorujete na nedostatky, ktor vznikli pri
oznaovan obc v jazyku nrodnostnej meniny. Slovensk sprva ciest vykonva sprvu a drbu
ciest I. triedy. Vzhadom na to, e drbu zabezpeuje SSC cestou dodvateov (Regionlne sprvy
ciest), mohlo djs k oneskoreniu i u vystavenia objednvky, dodania znaky alebo vykonania
samotnho oznaenia. Jednotlivm Investinm sprvam a vstavbm ciest Bratislava, Bansk
Bystrica a Koice sme vntornm listom optovne nariadili osadenie chbajcich znaiek, v o
najkratej dobe. Z prlohy "Zoznam obc s chbajcim oznaenm obce, ktor prikladte k listu, nie je
jasn, na ktorej ceste chba oznaenie obce, kee cez niektor obce prechdzaj cesty aj I., II. resp.
III. triedy. Cesty II. a III. triedy maj vo vlastnctve a sprve Vyie zemn celky. Zrove bolo na
prslun IVSC zaslan upozornenie, e od 01.01.2012 vstpilo do platnosti nariadenie vldy . 534,
kde je uveden zoznam obc, v ktorch obania Slovenskej republiky patriaci k nrodnostnej menine
tvoria najmenej 20 % obyvatestva.
Dvojjazyn Jun Slovensko
ketnyelvudel@gmail.com
14. The Government Offices rejection to initiate a proceedings for the missing
Hungarian signs on the eliezovce railway station
12 May 2014
15. Signs on the eliezovce railway station
15 October 2013 - before informing the Government Office
29 May 2014 after the Governments Office rejection to initiate proceedings stating that
Hungarian signs has been placed in the meanwhile
MINISTE~STVO VNTRA SLOVENSKEJ REPUBLIKY
Kancelria ministra vntra SR
tlaov odbor
Pribinova 2,81272 Bratislava
Ven
Dvojjazyn J un Slovensko
ketnyelvudel@gmail.com
V list slo/zo da
04.11.20n
Nae slo
KM- TO-20 13/003413
Vybavuje/linka
Mgr. Lazarov/44522
Bratislava
19.11.2013
Vec
Otvoren list - odpove
Da 04.11.2013, bol na Ministerstvo vntra Slovenskej republiky doruen otvoren
list od hnutia Dvojjazyn jun Slovensko.
V sasnosti sa nzov .Pered" zachovva ako oznaenie obce v maarskom jazyku
v prlohe nariadenia vldy Slovenskej republiky . 221/1999 Z. z., ktorm sa vydva zoznam
obc, v ktorch obania Slovenskej republiky patriaci k nrodnostnej menine tvoria najmenej
20 %obyvatestva v znen nariadenia vldy Slovenskej republiky . 534/2011 Z. z. Uvedenou
monosou oznaenia obce v maarskom jazyku je zachovan monos obce oznaenia obce
vjazyku meniny v slade so zkonom . 184/1999 Z. z. o pouvan jazykov nrodnostnch
menn v znen neskorch predpisov. Pokia ide o Teedkovo, ide o zauvan nzov, ktor
obec pouva 65 rokova je sasou celosvetovej databzy geografickch dajov amapovch
diel. Ak by sme aj tento fakt opomenuli, tak napriek tomu nememe so zmenou nzvu obce
shlasi, nakoko by dolo k porueniu la ods. 1zkona o obecnom zriaden a 3a zkona
Nrodnej rady Slovenskej republiky . 270/1995 Z. z. o ttnom jazyku Slovenskej republiky
v znen neskorch predpisov. Oceujeme Vau obiansku zanietenos aaktivitu pri snahe o
premenovanie obce Teedkovo na Pered, ale vetci t, ktor realizovali otzky pri referende
v Teedkove vedeli, eje to v rozpore so zkonom. Referendum neme by nad zkonom.
Spozdravom
~~~
riadite tlaovho odboru
kancelrie ministra vntra SR
Telefn
02/50944522
Fax
02/50944397
E-mail
Petar.Lazarov@minv.sk
Internet
www.minv.sk
IO
MINISTE:RSTVO VNTRA SLOVENSKEJ REPUBLIK\'"
Kancelria ministra vntra SR
tlaov odbor
Pribinova 2,81272 Bratislava
Ven
Dvojjazyn J un Slovensko
ketnyelvudel@gmail.com
V list sl o/zo da
12.12.2013
Nae slo
KM- TO-2013/003413
Vybavuje/linka
Mgr. Lazarov/44522
Bratislava
30.12.2013
Vec
Otvoren list - odpove
Da 12.12.2013, bol na Ministerstvo vntra Slovenskej republiky doruen list od
hnutia Dvojjazyn jun Slovensko sdoplujcimi otzkami. Na Vae otzky zasielame
nasledovn odpove.
1. (zrove aj k odpovedi . 2) K existencii slova .Pered" v slovenine uvdzame, e
uveden slovo sa nenachdza v pravopisnom agramatickom slovnku v ktorom sa
v kodifikovanej podobe zachytvaj najpouvanejie slov veobecnej slovnej zsoby
spisovnej sloveniny ataktie ani nzov "Pered" sa nenachdza medzi nzvami obc
na zem Slovenskej republiky.
2. Ministerstvo vntra SR pri svojom posudzovan nzvu Pered vychdzalo z platnch
prvnych predpisov upravujcich nzov obce, poda ktorch mus byt' navrhovan
nov nzov obce v ttnom jazyku SR, ktorm je slovensk jazyk. V sasnosti je
nzov Pered zaraden medzi nzvy obc uvdzan vjazykoch nrodnostnch menn
aje oznaen ako nzov v maarskom jazyku (nariadenie vldy SR . 221/1999 Z. z.,
ktorm sa vydva zoznam obc, v ktorch obania Slovenskej republiky patriaci k
nrodnostnej menine tvoria najmenej 20 %obyvatestva uveden medzi obcami, v
ktorch obania Slovenskej republiky patriaci k maarskej nrodnostnej menine
tvoria najmenej 20 %obyvatestva).
3. V uvedenom nariaden vldy SR . 221/1996 Z. z. sa uvdzaj k nzvom obc
v slovenskom jazyku alternatvy vjazykoch nrodnostnch menn v obciach, kde
obyvatelia patriaci k nrodnostnej menine tvoria najmenej 20 %obyvatestva. Tieto
alternatvy si navrhla samostatne kad obec apreto nie je mon spochybova
monos rozhodnutia obce uvies nzov obce vjazyku nrodnostnej meniny zhodn
so slovenskm jazykom.
4. Nzvy obc ako naprklad Baka, Bajka, Zalaba, Kalonda apodobne nie s
protizkonn, pretoe sa uvdzaj ako oficilne nzvy obc na zem Slovenskej
republiky as v tomto tvare uveden v nariaden vldy SR . 258/1996 Z. z., ktorm
Telefn
02/50944522
Fax
02/50944397
E-mail
Petar.Lazarov@minv.sk
Internet
www.minv.sk
IO
sa vydva Zoznam obc a vojenskch obvodov tvoriacich jednotliv okresy v znen
neskorch predpisov.
S pozaravom
j1ban~
riadite tlaovho odboru
kancelrie ministra vntra SR
Fax
02/50944397
Internet
www.minv.sk
lCO Telefn
02/50944522
E-mail
Petar.Lazarov@minv.sk