The Slovenia Times

US State Department Again Lecturing on Human Rights


"Immaculate" United States discovered that "Societal discrimination and occasional extremist harassment and violence against the country's Roma, which aggravated their harsh living conditions, limited access to education and employment opportunities, and led to social isolation" was the most significant human rights problem in Slovenia last year.

The report points to estimates that 68% of Roma settlements were illegal and had no basic utilities, including electricity, running water, sanitation, and access to transportation.

"The ombudsman recommended to the government that it act on an emergency basis to legalize Roma settlements. Organizations monitoring conditions in the Roma community noted the exclusion of Roma from the housing market remained a problem," it says.

The State Department notes that police conducted training for the police and civilians to sensitize them to the problems of working in a multicultural environment. With Roma also taking part, the programme "helped establish a dialogue between police and individual Roma".

Although official statistics on unemployment and illiteracy among the Roma are not available, organizations monitoring the conditions and officials employed in schools unofficially reported that unemployment among Roma remained at around 98% and that illiteracy rates stood at some 85%.

Moreover, the report points to judicial and administrative backlogs. It moreover says that the erased were still not able to exercise fully their rights regarding access to housing, health care, employment, and social security.

The report is also critical of the government for failing to implement anti-corruption legislation effectively. It points out that the Corruption Prevention Commission accused the then Prime Minister Janez Janša and Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković of corruption but charges had not been filed for a long time.

The State Department also notes that the corruption watchdog "claimed to have neither adequate staff nor sufficient funds to fulfil its mandate and assess all cases of suspected corruption." Moreover, the three-member presidency of the commission resigned in November.

Other problems reported during the year included prison overcrowding; violence against women and children; trafficking in men, women, and girls; and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons.


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