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Important documents and Human Rights institutions

    Updated 25.11.2022
    Published 03.08.2022

    United Nations

    The Slovak Republic is a Party to almost all core human rights treaties of United Nations (UN). The core UN human rights treaties are:

    • UN Charter
    • Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
    • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) – (120/1976 Coll.)
    • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) – (120/1976 Coll.)
    • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965) – (95/1974 Coll.)
    • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979) – (62/1987 Coll.)
    • Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984) – (143/1988 Coll.)
    • Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) – (104/1991 Coll.)
    • International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (1990)
    • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) – (317/2010 Coll.)
    • International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (2006) – signature of SR at 26 September 2007

    For more information: International Law.

    The UN system, centred on the support and protection of human rights, consists of two main types of bodies:

    • Charter-based bodies
    • Treaty-based bodies

    The main Charter-based body is UN Human Rights Council (HRC), which replaced the former UN Commission for Human Rights. Nowadays, HRC is the most important human rights body within the UN system. More information about HRC can be found in the section on HRC and at The Human Rights Council.

    Treaty-based bodies:

    Other bodies dealing with support and protection of human rights are:


    Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

    Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is relatively a new organ in the UN system of human rights. It was founded in 1993 on the basis of resolution of the UN General Assembly 48/141. The High Commissioner for Human Rights has the main responsibility for the UN activities in the field of human rights. After the Secretary General of the UN is the High Commissioner the second highest representative in this field. The High Commissioner, within her competences and without an explicit mandate of another political body (e.g. Human Right Council), can initiate an action in the case of serious and systematic violation of human rights.

    The Office supports universal ratification and implementation of human rights treaties. In line with the policy of mainstreaming of human rights, the Office integrates human rights within the UN system; facilitates the cooperation of human rights institutions and world organisations and encourages these to promote human rights in accordance with the UN system. The Office provides the expertise and guidance to the UN human rights bodies and enables access to information in the field of human rights.


    European Union

    "The European Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States."

    "The Union shall respect fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed in Rome on 4 November 1950 and as they result from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, as general principles of Community law." Treaty of the EU, article 6

    Human rights policy of the EU

    ​​​​​​​Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy (2012) (pdf; 42.24 KB)

    Working group of the Council of the EU on human rights (COHOM) was established in 1987. Since extension of its mandate in 2003, COHOM has competence in all human rights aspects of the EU external relations und the 1st and the 2nd pillar.

    Mandate for the EPC - Working Group on Human Rights (pdf; 68.20 KB)


    EU Human Rights Guidelines

    Within the framework of the Common Foreign and Security policy, the EU promotes human rights in third countries. Important tools are the human rights dialogues with third countries, respectively political dialogues, which also include human rights issues. The EU has also adopted 12 sets of guidelines, which define the goals and instruments to avoid the violation of human rights in particular areas.


    EU Annual Reports on Human Rights and Democracy

    ​​​​​​​The main goal of the EU Annual Report on Human Rights is to present how the common values of the EU are transformed to the human rights policy and how the viewpoints of the EU are communicated to the outside world. The information contained in the report shall serve a background for evaluation of the EU human rights policy. The report deals with the following themes: developments in the field of human rights within the EU, EU instruments and initiatives in third countries, EU actions in International Fora, Thematic and Country-focused Issues.


    Council of Europe

    The European Convention on Human Rights, an international treaty drawn up within the Council of Europe, was opened for signature in Rome in 1950 and entered into force in 1953. The European Convention on Human Rights sets forth a number of fundamental rights and freedoms (right to life, prohibition of torture, prohibition of slavery and forced labour, right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, no punishment without law, right to respect for private and family life, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, right to marry, right to an effective remedy, prohibition of discrimination). More rights are granted by additional protocols to the Convention. Parties to the Convention, member states of the Council of Europe, undertake to secure these rights and freedoms to everyone within their jurisdiction.

    The Convention’s importance lies not only in the scope of the protected rights but also in the system of protection established in Strasbourg, France, to examine alleged violations and ensure that States comply with their obligations under the Convention. To ensure observance of the engagements undertaken by the Parties, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg was set up in 1959.

    The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg was set up on the legal basis of the Convention in order to ensure the observance of the engagements undertaken by the Parties to the Convention, member states of the Council of Europe. It deals with individual and inter-State petitions. At the request of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the Court may also give advisory opinions concerning the interpretation of the Conventions and the protocols thereto. The Committee of Ministers exercises the control over the implementation of the judgments, too. The judgments of the Court are legally binding on the parties of the Convention.

    The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe elects the judges of the European Court of Human Rights (one pre member state of the Council of Europe) for the term of 6 years, and may be re-elected..

    The governmental Agent, whose office is a part of the structure of the Ministry of Justice, represents the Slovak Republic in proceedings before the Court.

    The Commissioner for Human Rights

    The initiative for setting up the institution was taken by the Council of Europe’s Heads of tate and Government at their Second Summit in Strasbourg on 10-11 October 1997.

    On 7 May 1999, the Committee of Ministers adopted a resolution, which instituted the office of the Commissioner and elaborated the Commissioner’s mandate. In fact, it is the youngest of the Council of Europe institutions.

    His or her activity differs from that of the European Court for Human Rights. The Commissioner’s work thus focuses on encouraging reform measures to achieve tangible improvement in the area of human rights promotion and protection. Being a non-judicial institution, the Commissioner’s Office cannot act upon individual complaints, but the Commissioner can draw conclusions and take wider initiatives on the basis of reliable information regarding human rights violations suffered by individuals.

    The Commissioner co-operates with a broad range of international and national institutions as well as human rights monitoring mechanisms. The Office’s most important inter-governmental partners include the United Nations and its specialized offices, the European Union, and the OSCE. The Office also cooperates closely with leading human rights NGOs, universities and think-tanks.