Natisni vsebino

Deputy groups call for consistent respect of human rights

13.12.2018 12:57
Category: work and news

Ljubljana, 22 November - The National Assembly is discussing the 2017 annual report of the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman, with the deputy groups labelling as unacceptable the poor responsiveness of certain ministries to the ombudsman's warnings, and calling for consistent respect of human rights.
The report was presented by Ombudsman Vlasta Nussdorfer, who called for good and responsible governance and added that solutions for improving the respect of human rights in Slovenia did not require a lot of money.

She assessed that cooperation between ministries in this field was weak, with certain bodies facing a shortage of staff. Inspection services also need to be strengthened and they need to act, Nussdorfer stressed.

The ombudsman pointed to the overcrowdedness of institutions housing persons with mental and physical disabilities, which according to her work in "shameful conditions".

Nussdorfer has meanwhile noticed progress in the respect of the labour legislation. But not everybody who works is paid and some employers still do not pay social contributions for their workers, she said, adding that inspection services should act.

The opposition New Slovenia (NSi) warned that the recommendations from the ombudsman were repeated every year, which is something Slovenia should not be proud of.

NSi MP Blaž Pavlin pointed to the delays in the processing of complaints related to the rights to social transfers, and was also critical of the lack of responsiveness of the Health Ministry, as emphasised in the report.

The opposition Democrats (SDS) said that poverty was still a huge problem in Slovenia. Energy poverty is also a problem, said MP Eva Irgl, noting that it was faced mostly by single elderly women, households with the lowest income, pensioners and unemployed.

The opposition Left said that human rights should be respected without exceptions. "For young people, buying an apartment in Ljubljana is science fiction," said Željko Cigler, adding that supervision over payment of wages and contributions was insufficient.

The coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) focused on the elderly, with Jurij Lep saying that retirement homes were overcrowded and prices of services too high, which was why retirees were leaving for retirement homes abroad, mostly to Croatia.

The ruling Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) pointed to faculty buildings being inaccessible for students with disabilities. More should be done in this field, said Aljaž Kovačič, who was also critical of delays in the processing of complaints at the secondary level.

The coalition Social Democrats (SD) said that there was still much room for improvement in all fields of human rights. SD deputy Meira Hot said that the ombudsman was a "mirror to the state", adding that numerous initiatives meant that people trusted the institution.

The ombudsman's report is a thorough and analytical review of the situation of human rights in Slovenia, said the Modern Centre Party (SMC). Its MP Mojca Žnidarič said that the lawmakers should be critical of the areas where the ombudsman had detected insufficient progress.

Žnidarič also touched on hate speech, saying that the SMC would not accept the idea that hate speech in Slovenia was only an apparent fabrication.

Speaking on behalf of the Italian and Hungarian minorities, the Italian MP Felice Žiža commended the ombudsman for helping make progress in the use of Italian and Hungarian languages in the areas populated by the respective minorities.

Nussdorfer said that the response from the MPs and ministries inspired the hope that there would be fewer violations in the future. She announced she would present in January the recommendations which were the common thread of her six-year term, which expires in February.

The National Assembly also discussed the 2017 report of the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman on the implementation of tasks of the national preventive mechanism, in which the institution mostly points to shortcomings in the protection of vulnerable groups.

Nussdorfer pointed to numerous problems when it comes to the implementation of the mechanism protecting incarcerated or institutionalised persons from torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.

Certain prisons are overcrowded, and older prisoners are in need of a different treatment, the ombudsman said as she presented the relevant recommendations to competent bodies, which were endorsed by a majority of the deputy groups.

DeSUS deputies pointed to the room shortage in closed units of psychiatric hospitals and in retirement homes, while the SDS called on the Health Ministry and other stakeholders to respond faster to the calls to improve the situation.

NSi deputies praised the work of the mechanism, saying that it primarily served to ensure the respect of human dignity in the most difficult proceedings.

Labour Ministry State Secretary Breda Božnik said that the Health Ministry had assured the MPs that progress in the respect of human rights in psychiatric hospitals would be secured by changes to the mental health act, which were being drawn up.

Source: STA

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