Ljubljana, 9 March (STA) - Human Rights Ombudsman Zdenka Čebašek-Travnik has voiced support for the new family law, saying it improves the rights of children. She warned that a rejection of the law at the 25 March referendum could postpone decisions on important issues by at least a year.
Čebašek-Travnik said in a press release that the law brought solutions that "improve to a large degree the normative legislation in the field of family relations, with a primary focus on the position and the rights of children".
She regrets that the debate so far was more or less limited to subjects irrelevant to the position and rights of children.
"Based on the published evaluations of the new family law (positive and negative), we can assume that the public is ill-informed about the range of legislative changes that first and foremost improve the situation of children as the most vulnerable population group," the ombudsman said.
The family law, adopted by the former centre-left government in June 2011, updates legislation dating back as far as 1976.
Most provisions in the law are not controversial. The law introduces a ban on corporal punishment of children, a children's rights ombudsman and the transfer of decisions on children's rights in custody disputes from social centres to courts.
But the focus in public debates has been on gay couples getting almost the same rights as heterosexual couples, with intensive campaigning by the conservative Civil Initiative for the Family and Children's Rights, who collected over 40,000 signatures against the law.