The Slovenia Times

Human rights a top concern, but much work to do still


Noting that Slovenia will take over the presidency of the UN Human Rights Committee on 1 January, UKOM said that the country would focus above all on respect of children's rights, gender equality and empowerment of women, and the rights of the elderly.

In addition, Justice Minister Goran Klemenčič has been recently short-listed for the Council of Europe's next human rights commissioner, which the government sees as a recognition not only of his work but of Slovenia as well.

The minister said human rights violations were an attack on a person's dignity. While an advocate of dialogue and diversity, he said he would would never allow these to take precedence over the basic principles of human dignity and equality before the law.

The Justice Ministry acknowledged that it still had much to do, because the respect of human rights is an ideal that is hard to achieve fully. That is why all three branches of government must work continuously towards achieving it. Only a systemic approach ensures progress, the ministry added.

Human Rights Ombudsman Nussdorfer also said there was still much work to do to ensure human rights are fully respected.

She added that "we will insist on and demand solutions", calling on the state to work faster and responsibly to ensure just solutions.

Those who find themselves dealing with the bureaucratic apparatus are often without means and without legal expertise. The authorities should remember more often the principle of fairness and interpret legislation to the benefit of the people, she stressed.

Noting that any reduction in the infringement of human rights was a success for the ombudsman, Nussdorfer said that her office must also focus on problems exposed by the media, as they often uncover new topics for the ombudsman to address.

She listed labour rights and healthcare as two such fields, but pointed to minorities, such as the Roma and disabled persons, as an area that still requires much attention.

On the other hand, Equal Opportunities Ombudsman Miha Lobnik pointed out in his message that more had to be done about raising awareness about discrimination.

The feeling of inequality can quickly lead to "an increasing social dissatisfaction, which can in turn have harmful consequence", Lobnik stressed.

Human Rights Day is celebrated on 10 December in remembrance of the UN adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.


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