Natisni vsebino

Foreign Minister and Ombudsman Agree Closer Cooperation

13.09.2012 11:10
Category: work and news

Ljubljana, 13 September (STA) - Human Rights Ombudsman dr. Zdenka Čebašek - Travnik and Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec agreed to make coordination on international activities in the field of human rights between the two institutions more efficient as they held a working meeting in Ljubljana on Thursday.

The pair discussed a variety of topics, including an initiative to re-establish an inter-departmental government human rights commission, which has been abolished owing to cost cutting. Erjavec plans to propose reappointing the commission.

"We are finding it difficult to operate without this commission in the sense of reporting to various institutions like the Council of Europe, as these reports need to be adopted by the government, and coordinated within the cabinet and with the institutions responsible for human rights," the minister said.

He agreed with the ombudsman about the need to set up a national institution for human rights, but Erjavec also expressed a view that considering the costs this would entail it was not realistic to expect the creation of such an institution in these times of crisis.

"I believe it is exactly because of the financial turmoil in the country that we need such a national institution which would be in a position to establish major violations and report to the government about it," dr. Čebašek - Travnik said.

"We deal with violations that are reported to us by petitioners, while the national institution would have to do inquiries on ground, also among those who for various reasons do not get in touch with the ombudsman at all," the human rights official explained.

Dr. Čebašek - Travnik and Erjavec also discussed cooperation in international organisations in which Slovenia is involved in the field of human rights, in particular in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of Europe and the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights.

They also talked about assistance that Slovenian diplomatic and consular missions abroad provide to citizens abroad, especially those processed by law enforcement authorities. Erjavec said that an average of 170 to 180 Slovenian citizens were imprisoned abroad, mainly because of drug smuggling.

Meanwhile, the ombudsman also sought a clarification on the matter of temporary resident permits for citizens of third countries following reports that the ombudsman's office had unknowingly intervened on behalf of people who recruited young women from the Dominican Republic for prostitution.

Also on the agenda was the appointment of two Slovenian representatives to the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) with the ombudsman expressing her concern because she had still not been officially notified of who the pair were.

Erjavec first said that the appointment procedure was concluded, but climbed down following dr. Čebašek - Travnik's comments by saying that he might have been mistaken because he was not personally involved in the matter.

According to media reports, director of the Study Centre for National Reconciliation Andreja Valič Zver, the wife of presidential candidate Milan Zver, and Jernej Letnar Černič of the School for Advanced Social Studies have been selected as a member and substitute member of the FRA management board.

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