On April 9 the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava held our annual awards ceremony to recognize those who advocate for human rights in Slovakia. Upholding human rights remains one of the top priorities of the United States worldwide. The work of human rights defenders in Slovakia has a direct impact on the lives of many, and the Embassy applauds them for their continued dedication to helping those in need.
Chargé d’Affaires Norman Thatcher Scharpf said, “This year, in addition to our annual Human Rights Defender and Woman of Courage awards, we are presenting our first ever Ambassador’s Anti-Corruption Award, which recognizes individuals or an organization that has significantly contributed to the fight against corruption in Slovakia over the past year. The creation of this new award is part of our efforts to prioritize anti-corruption efforts in Slovakia, as well as to recognize the admirable work that many organizations and individuals do to fight corruption here.”
Chargé Scharpf added, “Over the past year we have seen some progress in Slovakia on human rights. We welcome Slovakia’s adoption of its first ever National Human Rights Strategy, as well as the allocation of around EUR 300 million of EU funding to assist marginalized Roma. But of course, more work needs to be done in these and other areas, and we look forward to hearing about continued progress.”
The following were the recipients of the Embassy’s awards:
- The Human Rights Defender Award goes to Iniciativa Inakost and associated LGBT organizations, in recognition of their outstanding and persistent efforts in advocating for the rights of LGBT persons in Slovakia, despite intense resistance, particularly during the preparation of Slovakia’s National Human Rights Strategy.
- The Woman of Courage Award goes to Lydia Suchova, Director of the NGO “Equity,” for her profound personal dedication in courageously fighting for the rights of men, women, and children from marginalized Romani communities despite deeply seated prejudices against them.
- Our inaugural Ambassador’s Anti-corruption Award goes to a brave pair of whistleblowers from the Piestany hospital, Alan Suchanek and Magdalena Kovacovicova, in recognition of their persistent efforts, despite institutional pressures, to advocate for patients’ rights and the proper use of public funds in the health care sector, particularly in the procurement of a CT scanner at the Piestany hospital.