Stories written by Pavol Stracansky

Polio Fear at Europe’s Door

The Ukraine is facing a “real threat” of a return of polio as well as outbreaks of other serious diseases such as mumps, rubella and measles because of a combination of state inefficiency and public mistrust of vaccinations, health experts have said.

‘Grand’ Corruption Grips East Europe

A deeply-engrained culture of graft across Eastern Europe is destroying bonds between politicians and the people as populations lose faith in what they see as a self-serving elite “enriching” themselves at their expense, anti-corruption campaigners have said.

Ukraine Injects Addicts With Hope

As former presidents, senior diplomats and experts meet in the Lithuanian capital to discuss a litany of rights abuses, lethal epidemics and social destruction caused by repressive drug policies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, pockets of hope for drug reform are emerging across the region.

Failed Drug Policies Building Global Hepatitis C ‘Time-Bomb’

As a hepatitis C pandemic rages among drug users and threatens the lives of millions around the world, a group of high-level leaders called today on governments to reform their drug policies and raise awareness about the public health threat of hepatitis C.

Going to School Away From School

As the Czech government comes under fire for apparently backtracking on commitments to inclusive education, Roma children and teenagers continue to be systematically shut out of Eastern Europe’s mainstream education system.

‘Money Wasted Without Policy’

As European Commission leaders make calls for EU countries to raise their spending on development aid for the world’s poor, groups working in underdeveloped states have warned that without more effective aid policies and networks, extra financing may be wasted.

EU Calls for New Plans Past the MDGs

The European Commission has unveiled a blueprint for global development aid and called on world leaders to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with an international aid framework based on sustainable and inclusive development tackling poverty at its roots.

Nuclear Safety Plan Has Ukrainians Worried

A 300 million euro loan to improve nuclear safety in the Ukraine has been attacked by environmental groups who say it will instead be used to keep ageing reactors working well beyond their planned lifespans – increasing the risks of a nuclear accident - while doing nothing to address serious issues with the country’s energy intensity.

Q&A: ‘Alliance of Civilisations, a Need and a Challenge’

The fifth global forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC), founded to promote intercultural understanding and dialogue to bring civilisations closer, came to a close Thursday after two days of talks, at which world leaders restated their commitment to the Alliance’s ideals and pledged to build on the foundations it had laid to expand its work.

‘Media Needs an Alliance With Minorities’

Amid calls from world leaders for media diversity and plurality to be strengthened to combat a rising tide of extremism and intolerance, media experts have warned that change should not be expected overnight and that governments and states have a crucial role to play in the process.

Alliance Aims to Get Past Intolerance

A UN summit designed to promote tolerance, plurality and global inclusiveness of civilisations has opened with dire warnings of the threat of religious and ethnic intolerance – at the same time as many states that have ostensibly signed up to the UN’s ideals continue to enforce laws and practices restricting religious freedom, and implicitly marginalising communities.

Stopping Uranium to Fight Off Nuclear

Local activists have begun protests in Slovakia after a government ministry appeared to give its backing to a controversial uranium mining project despite reassurances to people living near the proposed site that no mining would be allowed to take place.

State Failing as Parent

Governments in Eastern Europe and Central Asia are being urged to end the institutionalisation of babies as more than 15,000 children a year in the region continue to be subjected to a practice experts say often leaves them physically and mentally scarred for life.

East European War on Drugs Fails

When the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which advocates an end to what it says has been a failed ‘war on drugs’, held its latest working meeting in Warsaw last month, the choice of venue was apt.

AIDS Spreading Fast Across East Europe

Despite pledges from governments across Eastern Europe and Central Asia to fight HIV/AIDS – one of the eight Millennium Development Goals – the region has the world’s fastest-growing HIV epidemic.

Treating Doctors for Corruption

Slovak doctors have launched an unprecedented campaign to rid their own profession of what is widely perceived as endemic bribery.

Activists say crimes against Roma are not adequately investigated in Central and Eastern Europe. Credit: Cernavoda/CC BY-SA 2-0

EUROPE: Rights Groups Call for Effective Investigations of Crimes Against Roma

Rights groups have called on governments in Central and Eastern Europe to publicly condemn violence against Roma, as a family was gunned down in Slovakia in the latest example of what monitors say is a rising tide of violence against Europe’s largest ethnic minority. [caption id="attachment_110111" align="alignright" width="375"]

Neo-Nazis Taking to Terror

Just days after a hotel was firebombed in a suspected racist attack, experts and activists have warned of neo-Nazi groups turning to ‘terrorist’ campaigns as they become increasingly influenced by far-right movements in other countries.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Castration for Sex Offenders Triumphs

The Czech government has defied calls from international human rights groups to stop the "degrading" practice of surgically castrating sex offenders.

EUROPE: Separate Schools for Roma Challenged

A school in Slovakia has defended its decision to segregate Roma children from other students after a court ruled the practice breached equal rights laws.

BELARUS: Fight Against Death Penalty Gets Tougher

A petition signed by 250,000 people calling for an end to capital punishment has been turned away by Belarussian authorities as the regime continues to harden its stance on the death penalty.

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