We attended the pre-session meeting on the implementation of international human rights obligations under the ongoing 4th cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Slovak Republic at the UN in Geneva. The pre-session was intended for representatives of Member States accredited to the United Nations in Geneva to provide them with the information on the Slovak Republic's compliance with its human rights obligations for the purpose of formulating recommendations for Slovakia under the 4th cycle of the UPR.
During the pre-session, we had the opportunity to present our position on the fulfilment of human rights in Slovakia, focusing on the rights of LGBTI+ people, media freedom and the safety of journalists, as well as a space for human rights defenders, which has long been a focus of the Centre's attention. Within the above human rights topics, we reported in particular on:
- Slovakia's long-term violation of LGBTI+ rights caused by the absence of legal protection of same-sex couples, accessibility and barriers of medical and legal transition, the stigmatising exclusion of gay and bisexual men from blood donation, and ongoing attempts to restrict the rights of LGBTI+ people through legislative proposals;
- an increase in hate speech and harassment of journalists, as well as significant interference with media freedom;
- the shrinking democratic space for civil society and human rights defenders, including fragmented regulation and insufficient funding.
In the ongoing 4th cycle, Slovakia will be reviewed at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council in May 2024, where it will receive recommendations from UN Member States. For this purpose, the Centre also submitted its individual submission to the UN Human Rights Council in October 2023, in which it addressed a number of key issues and shortcomings related to the protection and promotion of human rights in Slovakia, including recommendations for the Slovak Republic. The Centre will continue to monitor the progress of the 4th cycle of the UPR and report on the implementation of the recommendations accepted by the Slovak Republic.