Welcome to this year’s second issue of the critical magazine Minority Policy in Slovakia, in which we address different issues in the field of public discourse, political development and changes to legislation related to ethnic, national, or religious minorities in Slovakia.

Even though the Covid-19 vaccine has been available for almost a year, the pandemic still persists in Slovakia and the situation here keeps deteriorating. In the recent past, several things happened in the field of minority policy, and we examine them critically in our magazine.

In an interview with the director of the organization Zdravé regióny (Healthy Regions), Tatiana Hrustič, we address the pandemic situation in Roma communities. We reflect on the past year and a half of the pandemic that has significantly affected these communities. In the interview, Tatian Hrustič describes how Roma communities were placed in quarantine and what impact it has had on the trust of Roma people to public institutions and to the organization Zdravé regióny, which has been working with the communities since 2005. We also look at the organization’s activities in the area of vaccination, prevention, and protection of health in the communities.

In her text, Alena Holka Chudžíková describes how the migration and immigration policies in relation to foreigners are reflected in the recently adopted Recovery and resilience plan for the Slovak Republic. She also points out that despite accurately identified needs in this area, the issue has been narrowed down to attracting „talented and high skilled“ foreigners.

Jana Kadlečíková goes back to the issue of inclusive education and examines several conceptual documents the government has adopted in this field. They are, for example, the above-mentioned Recovery and resilience plan for the Slovak Republic, Roma equality, inclusion and participation strategy or the amended Education Act. In her critical reflection, the author claims all the proposed strategic documents are well designed, ambitious and aim to improve conditions for education of children from minorities, but also shows that the specific steps taken in 2021 are lagging behind the ambitious plans.

Forced sterilizations of Roma women are a manifestation of public institutions‘ failure in the past decades. We revisit this practice in the text written by Michaela Píšová who examines it in retrospect. She points out that while the Czech Republic has issued a public apology to Roma women and has adopted legislation enabling compensations for victims of forced sterilizations, in Slovakia, these steps have not been taken yet despite various different initiatives of several organizations, as well as the Public Defender of Rights who has been intensely addressing the issue

Svetluša Surová has been contributing articles to our magazine related to legislation on the rights of national minorities. In her latest article (at the moment only available in Slovak), she examines the proposed legislation on the creation of so-called national minorities councils, and she draws attention to many shortcomings resulting from uncritical adoption of specific mechanisms from other countries (e.g. Serbia) without adjusting them sufficiently to the conditions in Slovakia. She also  identifies that the issue is poorly defined and anchored in the proposed policies.

Enjoy reading!

This article was written thanks to a financial support of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada represented by Canadian Embassy in Bratislava.