The Slovenia Times

Annual report on human rights shows progress in 2016


"Many positive things have happened in numerous fields concerning human rights, even shifts towards implementing long-standing recommendations by the ombudsman," said Nussdorfer.

According to her, legislation is being amended, including in judiciary, while changes are expected in healthcare.

She added that her office was pleasantly surprised to have received a mid-year report on implementing the ombudsman's recommendations from the Justice Ministry.

This convinced the ombudsman that the government in fact intended to systematically keep tabs on and speed up the implementation of the recommendations. Of last year's 83 recommendations, 20 have been implemented in full and 30 partially.

In its latest report, the ombudsman issued 71 recommendations with the most vulnerable groups remaining in focus of Nussdorfer's office. "Poverty with its many aspects remains the main topic and the main problem," Nussdorfer said.

She added that a number of cases have been resolved in a telephone conversation, with the office receiving 10,000 calls on its free line last year.

The office was also successful in constitutional matters, with Nussdorfer pinpointing mandatory municipality subsidies for socially vulnerable people, living in market rent and caretaker's apartments.

However, the issue of seizures of homes because of debt will have to be tackled, as those who are the most vulnerable "must not be left without home".

The right to drinking water was finally enshrined in the Constitution, but Nussdorfer warned that several vulnerable groups, especially the Roma, had trouble accessing it.

The ombudsman also listed workers' rights and staffing issues at inspection services as major fields of their interest. Turning to inspections, the ombudsman said that "probably nobody can imagine 40 labour inspectors can ensure supervision of 200,000 businesses".

Meanwhile, Nussdorfer hopes that the transnational provision of services act, passed in February, will start showing results.

Another major field of interest is healthcare, where most of the issues could be tackled by new legislation, but it is still being prepared.

Nussdorfer moreover added that the government had listened to her recommendations on accepting refugees, especially with regards to unaccompanied underage refugees.

According to Nussdorfer, Slovenia still faces a number of challenges in cooperation: "With better cooperation between portfolios and sectors the results would improve and maybe solutions would be found that do not require vast amounts of money, because, as we know, the state coffers are always empty, especially when the vulnerable are at stake."

Speaker Brglez welcomed the report indicating improvements in human rights as well as the progress made by the office. Pahor and Nussdorfer meanwhile discussed the role of the president in seeking solutions with regards to human rights.


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