Information on the scope of authority of the Public Defender of Rights for the foreigners, seeking aid and protection in connection with the war in Ukraine
The Public Defender of Rights (Ombudsperson) is an independent body of the Slovak Republic. The mission of this institution is to protect fundamental rights and freedoms in cases of possible violation by administrative bodies of the state or public authorities, such as the police, Migration office, Ministries, Offices of Labour, Social Affairs and Family or by municipalities.
The Ombudsperson does not have the power to change the decisions of the institutions concerned, but his/her role is to use his/her competencies and provide arguments to achieve the implementation of his/her recommendations proposed to reverse the situation where the violation of rights occurred.
WHO MAY SEEK OUR HELP?
The Ombudsperson can also be approached by foreigners currently arriving in the Slovak Republic through border crossings with Ukraine due to a war conflict. People fleeing a war conflict can apply for temporary refuge or asylum in the Slovak Republic. The competent police departments process these applications. The right to a fair trial does apply in these procedures.
THE RIGHT TO DIGNITY
If a foreigner is placed in a detention centre, he or she has the right to protect his/her dignity and must be treated in a respectful manner. Under the Asylum Act, the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic is obliged to create suitable conditions for accommodation and living of foreigners placed in asylum facilities while also considering the special needs of vulnerable individuals identified based on individual assessment.
Vulnerable groups are, in particular, minors, people with disabilities, the elderly, pregnant women, single parents with children, people with serious diseases, people with mental disorders and people who have been subject to mental or physical violence. While placing a foreigner in an asylum facility, the competent authority shall consider his or her age, state of health, family relations and religion, ethnicity and national characteristics. The facility must provide provisions for leisure activities, especially for cultural and sports activities and the acquisition of skills and knowledge that will facilitate the future adaptation of refugees in society.
THE RIGHT TO EMERGENCY HEALTHCARE
Foreigners seeking asylum or temporary refuge have the right to emergency care, regardless of whether they have public health insurance or not. If justified by an individual assessment of the applicant’s health, there is an established need for routine (not emergency) health care; the relevant Ministry will also reimburse this type of provided health care. The Ministry shall provide appropriate medical care to minor asylum seekers that are victims of abuse, exploitation, torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or who have to suffer the consequences of an armed conflict.
If there is a suspicion that the decision or action of a state body of the Slovak Republic violates the fundamental rights of asylum or temporary refuge seeker, he/she may turn to the Public Defender of Rights with his/her complaint.
PUBLIC DEFENDER OF RIGHTS MIGHT INVESTIGATE, FOR EXAMPLE THESE SITUATIONS:
- A person was not allowed to enter the territory of the Slovak Republic,
- A person has not been adequately instructed about the possibilities to apply for asylum or temporary refuge,
- The application for asylum or temporary refuge was filled out incorrectly by the police officer,
- No certificate of retention of a passport or other type of ID, has been issued to the entitled person after the application for temporary refuge has been lodged,
- The body search after entering the detention camp was carried out inadequately,
- The entitled person has not been granted access to urgent medical care,
- No pocket money/food/hygiene supplies have been provided to the entitled person after the temporary refuge had been granted,
- Conditions in the humanitarian centre are unsatisfactory (cold, hygienically unsuitable premises, Etc.),
- The application for asylum or temporary refuge has not been refused under the law.
HOW TO MAKE A COMPLAINT:
A person can file a complaint directly via the web site www.vop.gov.sk, via an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or in a written form to the address: Verejný ochranca práv, Grösslingová 35, 811 09 Bratislava.
The complaint can also be filed in person on the Public Defender of Rights premises at Grösslingová 35, 811 09 Bratislava. Your complaint might also be filed in the Ukrainian language.
- Informational site of Slovak Republic: https://ua.gov.sk/
- Documents for Ukrainian Students: https://www.minedu.sk/29993-sk/situacia-na-ukrajine/
- Ministrty of health: https://mzsr.sk/?pomoc-ukrajine
- IOM: https://www.mic.iom.sk/sk/novinky/757-info-ukrajina.html
- Slovak Red Cross: https://redcross.sk/ukraine-info-sk/
- Dialysis centers: https://www.health.gov.sk/Clanok?Dialyzacne-centra-UA
- Human Rights League: https://www.hrl.sk/sk
- Človek v ohrození (Human in Danger): https://clovekvohrozeni.sk/pomoc-ukrajina/
- Úsmev ako dar (Smile as a Gift): https://usmev.darujme.sk/susedska-pomoc-ukrajine
- Slovenská katolícka charita (Slovak Catholic Charity): https://charita.darujme.sk/ukrajina/
- Unicef: https://www.unicef.sk/ukrajina/
- NGOs’ joint action: https://www.donio.sk/kto-pomoze-ukrajine
- Ukrainian Red Cross: https://bit.ly/3lyc8zl
Information to download: here