06 October 2022 Time to read: 2 mins

Slovakia adopts the working definition of antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination

This article is part of our series looking back at one year of implementation of the pledges made at the Malmö International Forum, Remember ReAct.

The National Council of the Slovak Republic adopted the IHRA’s working definition of antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination on 27 September 2022, equipping policymakers and civil society with a powerful tool to identify and counter anti-Roma hatred, both online and offline.

The adoption of the working definition formed part of Slovakia’s pledges presented at the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism – Remember ReAct, and will facilitate the implementation of concrete actions to support Roma communities in the country.

Slovak Parliament tackles anti-Roma racism with resolution

With the adopted resolution, the Slovak Parliament called for significant initiatives to counter this form of hatred, like encouraging government authorities to turn to the IHRA’s working definition when developing policy. The resolution also tasked the Government with engaging in serious and constructive dialogue with civil society organizations and public officials on how to actively ensure the security of its Roma citizens. The IHRA’s working definition will no doubt provide all those involved with a mutual starting point for discussion and for action against anti-Roma racism.

Parliament also stressed the importance of the Government raising awareness of the damaging impact of anti-Roma discourse on society, and encouraged it to actively counter such hateful messaging, with the working definition as a guide.

IHRA working definition to have significant impact

In addition to helping raise awareness of anti-Roma racism, the working definition will be used in education and professional training contexts.

Jan Hero, member of the Slovak Delegation to the IHRA and Governmental Plenipotentiary for Roma Communities, welcomed the adoption of the definition. Stressing its importance as an educational tool, he said, “There is no doubt that the working definition will assist educators – whether of schoolchildren or of professionals – in helping their students recognize hatred, racism, and discrimination both in everyday life and on the internet. The definition’s explanation of the enduring impact of anti-Roma racism today, together with real-world examples of how it can manifest, will prove useful in the classroom.”

Martin Korcok, former Chair of the Committee on the Genocide of the Roma and Director of the Holocaust Museum in Sered, said, “Slovakia’s adoption of the working definition comes at an important time and will supplement the educational materials for Slovak teachers on the Roma genocide, prepared by the Sered Holocaust Museum in cooperation with the Office of the Governmental Plenipotentiary for Roma Communities.”

Martin Korcok is also the IHRA representative on the Committee of Experts on Roma and Traveller Issues (ADI-ROM) of the Council of Europe.

Learn more about the IHRA’s work to raise awareness of the genocide of the Roma and to counter anti-Roma racism.

Sign up to our newsletter to 

receive the latest updates