Natisni vsebino

Ombudsman finds recurring human rights problems

31.05.2016 10:39
Category: work and news

The Human Rights Ombudsman has issued a set of 83 recommendations in the latest annual report on the state of human rights in Slovenia that finds recurring problems faced by marginalised groups and the ongoing failure by the authorities to act on recommendations from previous years.

"If our recommendations, instructions and observations were acted upon, it is safe to say the people would live better and there would be fewer procedures at home and abroad, and fewer damages paid out," Ombudsman Vlasta Nussdorfer said after handing her report to Parliamentary Speaker Milan Brglez on Tuesday.

Discrimination of vulnerable groups remains a major problem. Many Roma, for example, still live in illegal settlements without running water and electricity.

Poverty remains a pressing concern as well, with one in seven people on the verge of poverty. People are losing their homes, many are being evicted. This needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency, Nussdorfer said.

The Ombudsman has also found major violations of labour law, rampant illegal employment and even cases of bonded labour. "Many exploiters of people have no moral stature, shame is a word they do not know," the report states.

The government has been urged to adopt a system to check whether workers are receiving wages and to strengthen the labour inspectorate.

Social protection and health care are singled out as a critical area, with health reform delays in particular extending waiting times for patients and eroding people's trust in the system.

"This has a negative impact on rule of law and the welfare state," according to Nussdorfer.

The Ombudsman also recommends measures regarding asylum seekers, in particular minors, endorsing a proposal by NGOs to create a special accommodation centre for minors.

For police officers dealing with asylum seekers, the Ombudsman proposes that "communicate appropriately" and show compassion.

Some of the recommendations are much broader, for example a call on all stakeholders in public discourse to avoid instigating hatred and intolerance. When such cases occur, they have to be condemned.

Specifically, the Ombudsman proposes that the National Assembly adopt a code of conduct and form a tribunal to react to specific cases of hate speech in the political arena.

Regarding prisoners, the Ombudsman recommends that incarcerated persons be given plenty of opportunities to do useful activities, including paid work.

The Justice Ministry and the courts are being urged to continue implementing measures to ensure trials without undue delays.

While the report remains critical of the state authorities, the number of recommendations dropped by 31 from the year before.

Moreover, the Ombudsman received 2,785 new cases in 2015, down almost 10% over 2014.

The National Assembly is expected to examine the report in the autumn.

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