The Slovenia Times

Slovenia's treatment of migrants still an issue in State Department report


"The most significant human rights problem was ensuring the humane treatment of the thousands of migrants and asylum seekers who transited the country en route to Austria and Germany," reads the report on human rights practices for 2016.

While noting that authorities sought to manage the transit of migrants and asylum seekers through the country efficiently and humanely, it points to concerns about the appropriateness during the winter months of tent accommodations at the main migration centre on the border with Austria voiced by a representative from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

It also mentions a brief protest of refugees at the government-operated asylum centre in September regarding delays in processing and the lack of information about their cases.

The report also highlights discrimination against the Roma and homosexuals, and judicial and administrative backlogs.

Other problems reported during the year included prison overcrowding, delays in resolving property restitution cases, self-censorship of the press and the threat and use of defamation suits against journalists, government corruption and domestic violence and human trafficking.

The US State Department also points to ineffective sanctions for violations of workers' rights and ineffective enforcement of fair labour standards. "The law does not prohibit antiunion discrimination or require reinstatement of workers fired for union activity."

The national monthly gross minimum wage was EUR 790, while the official poverty line is set at EUR 616 per month for single-member households.

According to the report, the standards of journalistic integrity suffered because of economic pressure and non-standard forms of employment, such as freelance or student status. Subsequently, journalists resort to self-censorship in order to maintain steady employment.

"Journalists noted efforts to investigate and publish stories about local corruption cases was particularly challenging because of economic and political pressure," the report says.

In the first half of last year, 59 criminal acts of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 15 were recorded.

The 300-member Jewish community reported of some prejudice and false stereotypes of Jews propagated within society, but there were no reports of anti-Semitic violence or overt discrimination.

More problems were reported in connection to the Roma and LGBTI persons.

"Many Roma lived apart from other communities in illegal settlements lacking basic utilities such as electricity, running water, sanitation and access to transportation.

"Government officials emphasized that the illegality of settlements remained the biggest obstacle to providing Roma access to adequate housing, water and sanitation."

Although segregated classrooms are illegal, a number of Roma reported to NGOs that their children attended segregated classes. The Roma also had problems getting a job.

Although discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation is prohibited by law, results of a survey conducted by an NGO indicated that 48 percent of respondents experienced discrimination on a daily basis due to their sexual identity.


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