Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Rob Berschinski visited Slovakia January 20-21, 2016 to discuss a broad range of human rights issues within the context of the strong U.S.-Slovak relationship.
During his trip, Berschinski met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Robert Kalinak, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miroslav Lajcak, Minister of Justice Tomas Borec, Human Rights Ombudswoman Jana Dubovcova, Judicial Council Chairwoman Jana Bajankova, and Plenipotentiary for Roma Communities Peter Pollak, among other government officials. His discussions focused on the ongoing refugee crisis and the need to avoid inflammatory rhetoric, as well as ongoing efforts to integrate Roma and other minority groups, particularly in the field of education. Berschinski also discussed Slovakia’s anti-corruption action plan and its Second National Action Plan under the Open Government Partnership (OGP), as well as its new Judicial Code of Ethics, emphasizing the importance of the full and effective implementation of these plans, and of holding corrupt individuals accountable in a court of law.
In addition to meeting with government officials, Berschinski also met with civil society leaders focused on supporting the rights of refugees and the Roma, rule of law activists, members of the business community, and representatives of Slovakia’s Muslim community. In these meetings, Berschinski stressed U.S. support for a humanitarian approach to migration challenges and the need to stand together to reject discrimination in any form.
Noting the strength of the U.S.-Slovakia relationship, Berschinski praised the Government of Slovakia for its continued support of our shared efforts in Afghanistan, and for Slovakia’s ongoing assistance to neighboring Ukraine.