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Ombudsman: Most Petitioners Feel the Pinch

25.11.2014 12:54
Category: work and news

The prolonged economic turmoil remains a major source of petitions to the Human Rights Ombudsman. This year the office has already dealt with 2,741 queries, having received close to 11,000 items of mail in total.

Addressing reporters in Ljubljana on Tuesday, Human Rights Ombudsman Vlasta Nussdorfer said the petitioners came with quite diverse messages.

"But the essence is: how to survive a moment of crisis that has lasted for too long, that is not a moment any longer," she said.

The petitioners also ask about how to survive on EUR 296 in social benefits a month, how to succeed in court proceedings on their own or with free legal aid.

Many queries pertain to healthcare, and many voice discontent over long waiting times for decisions by the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

Most recent data show that more than 4,000 people are waiting for a decision in response to their complaints, which Nussdorfer said was a large number, so she urged the ministry to cut waiting times.

The ombudsman also called for better cooperation on the part of ministries, especially in the areas where things needed to get resolved together.

Since taking over in February 2013, Nussdorfer conducted 232 consultations in person. The waiting time for reception by the ombudsman was shortened and currently 13 petitioners are waiting to be received.

Nussdorfer noted that many recommendations and warnings kept recurring, urging the authorities in charge to deal with human rights violations.

The ombudsman and her aides also highlighted specific problems such as healthcare for children when their parents fail to pay contributions as well as mandatory health insurance for those in civil bankruptcy.

The ombudsman's office has already received 8,877 phone calls this year. They usually get around 40 calls a day, but not so infrequently these number 70 or even more. They also get petitions outside their office.

Last year, the office handled 4,279 initiatives, 87.3% of which it resolved. The ombudsman met 250 people in person and talked to 291 during office hours in the field. The number of calls peaked at 11,800.

The human rights ombudsman's report for 2013 was endorsed by parliament last Friday in what was the most extensive such report to date. It contains 150 recommendations, many of which get repeated every year.


Source: STA (Slovenian Press Agency)

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