Natisni vsebino

MPs Adopt Recommendations Related to 2011 Human Rights Report

30.01.2013 14:51
Category: work and news

Ljubljana, 30 January (STA) - MPs adopted on Wednesday a set of recommendations related to the Human Rights Ombudsman for 2011, throwing out some of the recommendations put forward by Ombudsman Zdenka Čebašek Travnik. Some criticism of the work of the ombudsman, who highlighted among other things the problem of poverty in the country, was voiced by two coalition parties.

Rejecting an amendment of the opposition SocDems and Positive Slovenia (PS) in line with which parliament would endorse all and not only some of Travnik's recommendations, the deputies outlined a total of 73 recommendations.

These include a call to everyone participating in public debate to refrain from inciting hatred and intolerance and a proposal to penalise this as an offence.

Moreover, discrimination should also be addressed more effectively, suspended sentences proffered for minor crimes, and court backlog addressed.

Also among the recommendations is the proposal to reexamine rules governing the presentation of parties in election campaigns.

Meanwhile, Ombudsman Čebašek-Travnik, whose term ends in February, had focused in her presentation on problems that are repeating every year, including the failure of the state to address poverty.

She was critical of the Health Ministry for failing to adopt urgent changes to the mental health act, of the circumventing of labour legislation leading to precarious work arrangements and the exploitation of immigrant workers.

Court proceeding remain lengthy "which also prolongs the personal distress of individuals", while the problem of overcrowded prisons should also be addressed with alternative penalties.

Čebašek-Travnik moreover touched on what she sees as the lack of a proper housing policy, saying the role of the Housing Fund should be changed.

As regards the main tasks of her successor, she mentioned the challenge of proposing improvements to authorities in a way that would not be perceived as an attack but as an opportunity.

Čebašek-Travnik took some flack today from the ranks of the coalition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi), which accused her of failing to respond to certain instances of hate speech. They mentioned the recent hanging from central Maribor bridge earlier this month of sex dolls bearing faces of top city officials.

"According to the ombudsman, these officials can be robbed of dignity simply because they are holding a public office," the SDS's Eva Irgl said.

Coalition and opposition MPs clashed over a number of recommendations for the report adopted upon the proposal of the coalition, with opposition MPs rejecting the practice of parliament interfering with the recommendations of an independent institution.

Majda Potrata of the opposition SocDems protested against what she said "was a selection made by the coalition from the ombudsman's recommendations". Among more than 100 recommendations, the coalition only picked those it deems acceptable "and even with these it watered down the wording", Potrata said.

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