“Even though it seems that the growing number of initiatives is a bad certificate for a society, it could be understood also in a different way – people are becoming more and more aware of their rights and the role and importance of the Human Rights Ombudsman. That is why it is important that the Ombudsman remains a strong and independent institution, to which the state provides optimum working conditions,” said the Ombudsman Dr Zdenka Čebašek-Travnik at the reception at Vila Podrožnik. Newly elected president Dr Danilo TĂĽrk emphasized that efforts need to be made to fully implement human rights.
At the reception on the occasion of Human Rights Day the Ombudsman said that to the question which human rights in Slovenia were the most endangered there was no single answer. “Violation is always felt by the individual who suffers because of it. Their misfortune cannot and should not be compared with the others, but we have to do everything possible to remedy the violation,” explained the Ombudsman. As the most current human rights violations in Slovenia, Mrs Čebašek-Travnik pointed out violence, poverty and pollution of the living environment.
End of February she succeeded Matjaž Hanžek as the Ombudsman. “Taking care of people, who are suffering because they were wronged and their rights violated, is my main guidance,” said Mrs Čebašek-Travnik. Among the groups, whose suffering is often hidden or concealed from the public, she mentioned children, the elderly, the poor, victims of violence, sick persons, disabled persons and other handicapped, and those groups of people, who know how to make a stand for themselves, but whose voice is not powerful enough to achieve changes.
The Ombudsman reminded that despite the efforts of the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Slovenia it is not possible to solve all issues within the framework of his or her competencies. Therefore the Ombudsman’s office is striving “that the institutes, which could directly help individuals who are not able to make the hard path by themselves, would be revived again: advocate as a child’s voice and the representative of patient’s rights as foreseen by the law.” The Ombudsman wishes that the advocacy project would be expanded also to the other above-mentioned groups.
In almost 60 years from the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human rights have been constantly accompanied by various difficulties, said the newly elected President Danilo TĂĽrk before undertaking the duties. He recalled that during the socialist regime human rights were adopted into the constitutional order, but had a somewhat less important position. According to his words, after the victory of democracy and Slovenia’s independence the conditions improved: “Our constitutional arrangement has human rights built-in into the foundation of the entire constitutional and legal order itself, and the human rights are also adopted at the level of principles as one of the most important values of our society,” explained Mr TĂĽrk and added that on such basis the action for implementation of human rights could be built. Mr TĂĽrk emphasized that in Slovenia we should do more to decrease legal delays, make more efforts to overcome all types of prejudices that produce different forms of discrimination, and be more decisive when it comes to eliminating family violence and defending children's rights. He also believes that we should be more sensitive and pay attention to well-intentioned criticism from international bodies for human rights protection and non-governmental organizations. “This criticism should be understood as a welcome assistance, as a contribution to the discussion that helps to determine the human rights issues and their scope, and also possible solutions,” explained Mr TĂĽrk. Today in 1948 in Paris, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted, with which, according to TĂĽrk, “human rights became indispensable”. By tradition, on this day the Human Rights Ombudsman prepares a reception for important people of the Slovenian political and public life. For the first time, this year the Ombudsman’s reception in Cankarjev dom shall be followed by a government reception with the topic on political prisoners after 1945.