Natisni vsebino

Ombudsman: People Failed by Welfare State, Rule of Law

19.06.2015 14:46
Category: work and news


Procedures at courts and before state and local bodies take too long, and those needing help are often neglected, the Human Rights Ombudsman finds in the report for 2014.

Addressing reporters after presenting the report to National Assembly Speaker Milan Brglez, Ombudsman Vlasta Nussdorfer said citizens were often failed with respect to the welfare state and rule of law.

"The situation in healthcare was disastrous," her deputy Tone Dolčič. "There was no improvement in a single aspect, everything just got worse."

The Health Ministry had been without a minister for the greater part of the year, so the ombudsman proposes to the government and parliament to reflect on whether appointing stand-ins is appropriate.

Constant changes at the ministry caused damage in that they affected the functioning of the whole system, reflected in delays in the tackling of flaws and ensuring further development.

Ever since assuming office in February 2013, Nussdorfer has been pointing to systemic flaws, especially inconsistent legislation, its fast changing and lengthy legal procedures.

She finds that basic principles of the rule of law are violated in Slovenia. The legislative process is not always open or democratic and such decisions mean lesser legal certainty for citizens.

In one of her 114 recommendations, the ombudsman calls on state bodies to do everything in their power to restore trust in the work of institutions and the judiciary.

These must work fast and well and court decisions must be prompt and enforceable. Justice served too late or so it cannot be implemented runs afoul of fundamental principles of the effective rule of law.

The wrongs committed by the state in the past must be put right and people must get an apology, the ombudsman says in the report.

"The state has still not apologised to the erased, victims of post-war executions are still not buried," Nussdorfer told reporters.

The report welcomes a cut in court backlogs, although the ombudsman does not think enough has been done, so the report calls for developing efficient systems to assess the quality of courts' work.

The country was found to have violated at least one human right in 29 cases by the European Court of Human Rights last year, most often the right to adequate legal remedy.

Nussdorfer also highlighted the difficulties of people who lost their jobs or have not been paid for their work. They have to live on welfare benefits, which have encumbered their properties.

Procedures before local and state bodies take too long and are complicated. Inspection services are oversight mechanisms are too slow or inefficient.

The state's response is "lukewarm", and it fails to see some people in need of help, which is why Nussdorfer, like her predecessor in office Zdenka Čebašek Travnik, wonders whether Slovenia still is a welfare state.

The ombudsman's recommendations are generally well accepted but their implementation is a bigger problem. Solutions come late or not at all, the report finds.

Of the 154 recommendations in the report for 2013, 93 have not been implemented. Nussdorfer said that the ombudsman would insist on it that its past and latest recommendations are put into practice.

Dolčič highlighted child rights, recommending to the government to monitor systematically the signing and ratification of treaties in the field.

Deputy Ombudsman Kornelija Marzel also pinpointed problems faced by youth, including that many are in unstable jobs, are not paid for internship and that there is no national housing strategy.


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