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Slovak Interior Ministry fails to curb racism-activists

Bratislava, 13.3.2007 15:47, (CTK)

The Slovak Interior Ministry does not sufficiently fight against extremism, activists from the People Against Racism civic group told journalists today.

However, the Interior Ministry argues that its steps are sufficiently resolute and that it is preparing new laws in this field.

The last racially-motivated attack occurred in Bratislava on Saturday when a citizen of Nigeria was assaulted verbally and physically and when police allegedly also insulted him.

At the press conference today, the man rejected the police's statement that he was an attacker.

According to People Against Racism, in March alone another three attacks occurred in which the reason was the victims' different colour of skin.

"The number of attacks is growing and the Interior Ministry's measures in this sphere are insufficient and have unfortunately failed," group lawyer Jana Slaninova told journalists.

The League of Activists for Human Rights group today also called on the Interior Ministry to step up its effort in the fight against racism.

"We absolutely reject the allegation that the police are inactive. On the contrary, they act very resolutely in such cases," Vladimira Hrebenakova from the Interior Ministry said.

She said that the drafting of a bill on the fight against extremism and terrorism is close to completion at the ministry that will soon send it to other offices for consideration.

The Nigerian man, 30, who on March 10 was beaten up in Bratislava by eight men who also verbally insulted him said that the summoned policemen also insulted him. He said that one of the policemen was a friend of one of the attackers.

However, previously police said that it was the African who attacked a young man from Bratislava and that police had to use coercive means because he was aggressive.

People Against Racism recently also informed about an attack on a group of Mexican students and a Spaniard.

According to the Interior Ministry representatives, police have questioned the students and have launched criminal proceedings.

According to official statistics, some 200 racially-motivated attacks occurred in Slovakia last year. However, People Against Racism says that the actual number of racially-motivated attacks is much higher because many victims did not report the attack to the police.

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