Natisni vsebino

3.2. Working methods

Annual Report 1997

WORKING METHODS

Relations with state and other institutions

In our dealings with state and other bodies we often have to press for a reply because we have not received one within the deadline given. There are also cases where a certain body does reply in time but the content of the reply is evasive and does not make it possible for us to continue dealing with the complaint. There are also cases where bodies reply to us but at an inappropriate level of responsibility. We should also mention that we are not satisfied with the actions of the Prime Minister who has failed to reply to a letter from the ombudsman dealing with problems requiring urgent resolution. Such behaviour is not acceptable, especially when we consider that the ombudsman only turns directly to the Prime Minister in an exception, and only when the matter at hand concerns the resolving of problems of general importance or when the cooperation of several ministries is required. Notwithstanding this particular aspect, in most cases we have no particular problems concerning cooperation from state and other bodies.

Immediately after the government was formed, the ombudsman held talks with those ministers whose work was the subject of most of the complaints made by individuals who sought the help of the ombudsman.

In view of the urgency of the situation regarding the judiciary, the ombudsman met first with the Minister of Justice, highlighting the problem of decisions taking an unreasonable length of time to be made because of the excessive case backlog at some of the courts. On this point the minister informed the ombudsman of measures which he intends to propose to improve the situation. Their discussions also dealt with certain issues concerning complaints by detainees and sentenced persons.

Discussions with the Minister of Internal Affairs dealt with issues concerning the workings of the state administration. The ombudsman pointed out that the deadlines were generally not being observed in certain administrative procedures, especially in denationalisation procedures and procedures to obtain citizenship and official foreigner status. As far as the police force was concerned, the ombudsman praised the effective possibilities for internal complaint while at the same time pointing out certain violations relating to police procedures against individuals who had sought the intervention of the ombudsman. The ombudsman also spoke of the urgency of amending certain regulations within the competence of the ministry, mentioning in particular the Law on Administrative Procedure, the Law on Public Employees and the Law on the Police Force.

The ombudsman pointed out to the Minister of Defence that the defence ministry was not replying to certain inquiries we had made and that some of the replies avoided the questions we had asked, and also highlighted certain similar behaviour that is not acceptable in terms of proper cooperation. The ombudsman also told the minister that from the complaints we have received it is clear that the ministry takes adopts a rather inflexible attitude when dealing with the problems which individuals address directly to it. The minister and the ombudsman also touched upon issues concerning evictions from military housing, the purchase of military housing, labour relations complaints made by officers in the Slovenian Army, and the obstacles put in the way of certain individuals by the ministry in administrative and other procedures.

The starting point for discussions with the Minister of Labour, Family and Social Affairs was the fact that there is an increasing number of people requiring various forms of social help. The ombudsman told the minister about the problems he encounters in dealing with individual complaints, such as the need to regulate the status of shelters and mothers’ homes, the problem of older unemployed people, the problem of military pensions, the slow progress being made in the revision of decisions made on the basis of the Law on the Victims of War Violence. In the discussions it became clear that there was a need for improved supervision over the operations of companies set up to employ the disabled and that a new employment strategy was required for the disabled and older people.

Discussions with the Minister of the Environment and Physical Planning concerned issues such as the length of time taken in procedures at the second instance, the criteria for the order in which inspection decisions are implemented and issues related to the area of housing and environmental protection. The ombudsman also pointed out a certain confusion or lack of harmony arising because the municipalities were adopting different decrees in the area of physical planning. The minister said that he anticipates an improvement in the resolving of complaints with the adoption of a new law which will combine the procedures for issuing location and construction permits.

We informed the Minister of Health of problems in the area of health care which have emerged from the complaints we have received. The ombudsman repeated the assertion he made last year that the complaint mechanisms in health care are still too complicated. The ombudsman also raised certain questions concerning the implementation of expert supervision and highlighted the need to amend and supplement the Law on Health Care. He also pointed out the urgent need to bring in new arrangements for committing individuals to treatment in a psychiatric hospital against their will.

The ombudsman also held discussions with representatives of other bodies and institutions. He met the director of the Compensation Fund of the Republic of Slovenia to discuss the Fund's role in denationalisation procedures, and also met the director of the Office for the Disabled and certain disabled organisations to discuss issues concerning disabled people. In a meeting with the Health Association of Slovenia the ombudsman raised the issue of the possibilities for complaint and the question of expert supervision. It was established that there is a need to amend and supplement the Law on Health Care. The Association of Slovenian Officers informed the ombudsman about their organisation. The Deputy Ombudsmen, advisers and other experts also held a range of working discussions with the responsible officials in other bodies, such as those with representatives of the national environment inspectorate, the market inspectorate, the administration inspectorate, the data protection inspectorate, the central tax office, the administration for the implementation of penal sanctions, the foreigners’ transit centre, the office for immigration and refugees and the office for complaints and internal protection at the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Work outside of Ljubljana

We devote a lot of attention to work outside of Ljubljana because we believe that in this way we can make the Ombudsman’s Office more accessible to people living away from the capital. The ombudsman has held discussions in all the larger regional centres with individuals who applied in advance. By carrying out work outside of Ljubljana we enable the institution to operate effectively throughout the country. From the feedback we have received it is clear that interest is increasing for discussions to be held with the ombudsman outside of Ljubljana. Individuals who have lodged a complaint to commence proceedings with the ombudsman often express the wish to speak personally to the ombudsman when he makes a working visit to their town or to a place near where they live.

In 1997 we carried out our work in Maribor, Celje, Novo Mesto, Nova Gorica, Koper, Murska Sobota, Ptuj, Krško and Črnomelj as well as from the head office in Ljubljana. The ombudsman visited Maribor four times and Ptuj twice and went to all of the other places once. In Maribor the ombudsman and his deputies carried out 206 interviews, as many as 36 more than last year. In view of the great interest in holding talks with the ombudsman in Maribor, we intend to continue devoting special attention to this town in the future. In the other towns up to 30 interviews were held, except in Koper where there were 51. Discussions outside of Ljubljana are held in the premises of the municipality building. We are able to intervene immediately to resolve certain problems concerning the work of state bodies at the local level and of municipalities. But often after talking to an individual we send them to the relevant body with instructions to inform us if they are unable to resolve their problem. When the ombudsman is working out of a municipality building he generally meets the mayor and other responsible officials. At these meetings he highlights the more important problems being dealt with by the Ombudsman Office that are within the responsibility of the local authority, and obtains information on the possibilities for resolving them. Direct contact with the people responsible for dealing with a problem enables matters to be sorted out more quickly.

When time permits, the ombudsman also makes use of his visits to other Slovenian towns to carry out other tasks in addition to holding talks with individuals. In rnomelj he was a guest at a well-attended round table debate, at which he set out the role and the powers of the institution. In Nova Gorica and in Koper he familiarised himself with the living conditions in the prisons in these two towns. On a visit to Maribor he visited a detention centre and examined the detention records kept by the police station. Here he pointed out certain shortcomings, such as the fact that the detention cells were windowless and had no daylight, making them unsuitable for lengthy detention. The ombudsman also visited the Maribor Psychiatric Hospital, where he held discussions with individuals in the closed wing. The ombudsman took up an offer from the mayor of Loški Potok to come and see the problems faced in this poorly developed municipality. He was part of a panel on which he presented the institution and answered questions from the audience. He also frequently appeared on local radio and television phone-ins answering questions from listeners and viewers.

Discussions held at the office

Around 900 personal discussions were held this year in the office premises with complainants and around 7,900 telephone discussions, mostly on a freephone line.

Public relations

Article 8, paragraph 2, of the Law on the Human Rights Ombudsman provides that “the ombudsman shall inform the public and the National Assembly of his findings and measures taken”. The annual report of the ombudsman provides the most extensive information for the National Assembly and the public, but additionally the ombudsman also reports to the media and the general public throughout the year on his work and on his findings concerning the level of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the degree of legal certainty of citizens in the Republic of Slovenia. In the efforts to safeguard and promote human rights the cooperation and support of the media is highly important for the work of the ombudsman.

The ombudsman informs the media and the public about his work and about individual cases, and explains his opinions, criticisms and recommendations for resolving outstanding individual or systematic problems. The entire work of the ombudsman and communications with the public at various levels has two main goals. On the one hand, the ombudsman calls for consistent respect for human rights in all areas from those who take the decisions and ensure their implementation, and on the other hand the ombudsman tries to maximise people’s understanding and awareness of their rights and the channels through which they may be exercised. On these subjects he spoke in 1997 at nine news conferences, either at the ombudsman’s premises in Ljubljana or while working in other towns around Slovenia, and in numerous interviews for radio, television and newspapers and magazines.

For instance, the ombudsman’s visit to the refugee centre at Hrastnik received a lot of attention and was widely reported in the media. The media also gave good coverage to the ombudsman’s international contacts, especially his participation at the 6th meeting of European National Ombudsmen in Israel. The media also covered the National Assembly’s deliberation of the annual reports of the ombudsman for 1995 and 1996, and the statement given by the ombudsman on 10 December, International Human Rights Day. Foreign journalists are also turning to the ombudsman with increasing frequency. And the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s most respected newspapers, published an extensive article on the work of the Human Rights Ombudsman in Slovenia.

In the future we will be devoting even more attention to cooperation with the public at various levels. This is an area that will be looked after by our expert in public relations and international cooperation, who has been employed in the Office of the Ombudsman since 1 October 1997.

International activities by the Human Rights Ombudsman in 1997

The Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Slovenia was elected in 1996 as a member of the leadership of the International Ombudsman Institute and as deputy president of the European Ombudsman Institute. His taking over of important duties at the international level was reflected in a strengthening of international cooperation in 1997.

In April the ombudsman visited the Institution of Ombudsmen in the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and on this occasion met the representative of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Ms. Greta Haller, and the president and vice-president of the Bosnian federation, Mr. Vladimir Šoliæ and Mr. Ejup Ganiæ. During his working visit to Bosnia, the ombudsman went to Bihač, Mostar and Sarajevo, where he also met with members of the local Slovenian community.

At the invitation of the Human Rights Directorate of the Council of Europe, the ombudsman attended a conference in Strasbourg in the middle of May entitled A Social Charter for the 21st Century, which was organised by the Secretariat of the Council of Europe. The conference was attended by representatives of the member-states of the Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, international and non-governmental organisations, the social partners and representatives of academic organisations. The central topic of the conference was the importance of the European Social Charter, with a debate being held on the possibilities for improving it.

At the end of May the Council of Europe organised a seminar in Strasbourg on the proposal to establish a Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner. At the seminar the ombudsman presented a well-received paper on the Role and Experience of an Ombudsman in a New Democracy, in which he used the example of Slovenia to set out the experience gained and the lessons learned about the work of an ombudsman in the countries in transition.

At the invitation of the Lithuanian Office of Parliamentary Ombudsmen the Slovenian Ombudsman paid a working visit to Lithuania in early June, where he met the deputy president of the Lithuanian parliament, the president of the Constitutional Court, members of the Lithuanian parliamentary committee for human and civil rights and the parliamentary ombudsmen.

After completing his working visit to Lithuania the ombudsman continued his journey to the Latvian capital, Riga, where he attended the 3rd International Workshop of the United Nations Development Programme on the ombudsman and national institutions for the protection of human rights. Most of the participants were from Central and Eastern Europe, and the Slovenian Ombudsman made an extensive presentation of the institution of the Human Rights Ombudsman, focusing on the responsibilities, organisation and scope of work.

In June the ombudsman visited Canada and the United States. He met the ombudsmen of both Quebec and Ontario, Mr. Daniel Jacoby and Ms. Roberta Jamieson. In Toronto, in cooperation with the local Slovenian associations, the ombudsman made himself available for discussions with anyone who had problems in proceedings before official bodies of the Republic of Slovenia, and spoke at an event entitled Slovenian Day. In Cleveland, in the United States, he participated in celebrations marking a Slovenian public holiday and took part in a round table debate.

In July the Ombudsman of the Republic of Lithuania, Mr. Julius Jasaitis, headed a working visit to his Slovenian counterpart. The visiting delegation were informed about the practical aspects and the powers of the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Republic of Slovenia. They met representatives of the Office of the President of the Republic and the Constitutional Court, and the president of the parliamentary committee for internal politics and justice, and also visited the transit centre for foreigners and held talks with its director. During their time in Slovenia the Lithuanian guests also visited the prison at Dob and spoke with the prison’s directors.

In September the ombudsman took part in the 6th meeting of European national ombudsmen in Jerusalem. On this occasion the Slovenian Ombudsman had the opportunity to speak on behalf of his European colleagues at a reception with Israeli president Mr. Ezer Weizman.

Also in September the ombudsman met the constitutional commission of the Swedish parliament, and explained the constitutional position of the Human Rights Ombudsman in Slovenia and the experience gained in its work thus far to the members of the commission.

In October the ombudsman spent several days visiting the Bundestag in Germany, where he met, among others, the president of the petitions committee, Ms. Christa Nickels, and the special parliamentary commissioner for the army, Ms. Claire Marienfeld, and also attended a session of the petitions committee and the session of the Bundestag at which the annual report of the petitions committee was deliberated. During a visit to Dresden the ombudsman met the justice minister of Saxony, Mr. Steffen Heitman, and representatives of the petitions committee in the parliament of the state of Saxony.

At the end of November the ombudsman attended the 4th international workshop on national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights in Merida, Mexico, at the invitation of the president of the Mexican national commission for human rights, Dr Mireille Roccatti. At the international workshop the participants, including many national ombudsmen from Europe and other parts of the world, discussed strengthening cooperation among national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights, sensitive and marginal groups, migrational trends, the struggle against racism and xenophobia, and economic, social and cultural rights; in other words, the right to progress in the modern world.

At the invitation of the Slovenian Ombudsman, in December the Ombudsman of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Branko Naumovski, headed a delegation to Slovenia. Naumovski, who is the first Macedonian ombudsman and took up his post in the middle of 1997, spoke with his hosts about various experiences and the problems which the Slovenian Ombudsman encounters in his work. He also familiarised himself with the workings and the organisation of the ombudsman in Slovenia. Naumovski also took part in the news conference which we organised ahead of the international day of human rights.

Letno poročilo 1997 - Poglavje 3.2.

NAČIN IN OBLIKE DELA

Odnosi z državnimi in drugimi institucijami

V razmerjih do državnih in drugih organov se dogaja, da moramo večkrat urgirati za odgovor, ker nismo prejeli odgovora v danem roku. So tudi primeri, ko organ sicer pravočasno odgovori, vendar je vsebina odgovora izmikajoča se in ne omogoča nadaljnje obravnave pobude. Prav tako so primeri, ko nam organi odgovarjajo z neustrezne ravni odgovornosti. Omenimo naj tudi, da smo nezadovoljni z ravnanjem predsednika vlade, ki ni odgovoril na pismo varuha, ki se je nanašalo na probleme, ki bi jih bilo treba čimpreje razrešiti. Tako ravnanje ni sprejemljivo, če upoštevamo, da se varuh nanj neposredno obrača izjemoma, in sicer samo tedaj, ko gre za razreševanje problemov širšega pomena oziroma ko je potrebno sodelovanje več ministrstev. Ne glede na navedeno pa lahko ugotovimo, da v večini primerov ni posebnih problemov glede sodelovanja z državnimi in drugimi organi.

Takoj po oblikovanju vlade je varuh imel pogovore s tistimi ministri, na katerih delo se je nanašalo največ pobud posameznikov, ki so se obračali nanj. Glede na pereč položaj na področju sodstva se je varuh najprej srečal z ministrom za pravosodje. Opozoril ga je na problem odločanja zunaj razumnega roka zaradi prevelikih zaostankov na nekaterih sodiščih. V zvezi s tem je minister seznanil varuha z ukrepi, ki jih namerava predlagati za izboljšanje tega položaja. Na pogovoru so bila obravnavana tudi nekatera vprašanja, ki se nanašajo na pritožbe pripornikov in obsojencev.

Na pogovoru z ministrom za notranje zadeve so bila obravnavana vprašanja v zvezi z delovanjem državne uprave. Varuh je opozori, da se na splošno ne upoštevajo roki v nekaterih upravnih postopkih, zlasti v postopkih denacionalizacije in v postopkih pridobivanja državljanstva ter statusa tujca. Glede policije je varuh pohvalil učinkovite notranje pritožbene možnosti in hkrati opozoril na nekatere kršitve, ki se nanašajo na postopke policije zoper posameznike, ki so se obračali nanj. Varuh je tudi izrazil mnenje, da bi bilo nujno novelirati nekatere predpise s področja pristojnosti ministrstva, in omenil zlasti zakon o upravnem postopku, zakon o javnih uslužbencih in zakon o policiji.

Varuh je ministra za obrambo opozoril, da ministrstvo ne odgovarja na nekatere naše poizvedbe, da odgovarja mimo postavljenih vprašanj, in na druge podobne pojave, ki niso sprejemljivi z vidika korektnega sodelovanja. Varuh je ministra tudi seznanil, da iz naših pobud razberemo dokaj tog odnos ministrstva pri obravnavi problemov, s katerimi se posamezniki neposredno obračajo na ministrstvo. Z ministrom sta se tudi dotaknila vprašanj, ki so povezana z deložacijami iz vojaških stanovanj, z odkupi vojaških stanovanj, z delovnopravnimi pritožbami častnikov Slovenske vojske in pa z zadržki, ki jih uveljavlja ministrstvo za posamezne osebe v upravnih in drugih postopkih.

Izhodišče pogovora z ministrom za delo, družino in socialne zadeve je bilo v ugotovitvi, da je čedalje več ljudi v slabem gmotnem položaju. To dejstvo potrjuje podatek o znatni rasti števila socialnih pomoči.Varuh je ministra seznanil s problematiko, s katero se srečuje pri obravnavi posameznih pobud. Tako ga je opozoril na potrebo po ureditvi položaja zavetišč in materinskih domov, na problem starejših brezposlenih oseb, na problem vojaških pokojnin in na počasno opravljanje revizij odločb, izdanih na podlagi zakona o žrtvah vojnega nasilja. Na pogovoru se je pokazalo, da sta potrebna boljši nadzor nad delovanjem invalidskih podjetij in nova strategija zaposlovanja invalidov in starejših oseb.

Z ministrom za okolje in prostor so bila obravnavana vprašanja glede dolgotrajnosti postopkov na drugi stopnji, meril glede vrstnega reda izvršitve inšpekcijskih odločb in vprašanja s področja stanovanjskega gospodarstva in varstva okolja. Varuh je tudi opozoril na določeno zmedo oziroma neusklajenost, ki nastaja zato, ker občine sprejemajo različne odloke na področju urejanja prostora. Minister je povedal, da pričakuje izboljšanje pri reševanju pritožb, in sicer s sprejetjem novega zakona, ki bo združil postopek za izdajo lokacijskega in gradbenega dovoljenja.

Ministra za zdravstvo smo seznanili s problematiko na področju zdravstva, ki izhaja iz prejetih pobud. Varuh je ponovil svojo lansko ugotovitev, da pritožbeni mehanizmi v zdravstvu še vedno niso pregledni. Varuh je tudi sprožil nekatera vprašanja glede izvajanja strokovnega nadzora in ugotovil potrebo po spremembi in dopolnitvi zakona o zdravstveni dejavnosti. Opozoril je tudi, da je nujna nova ureditev glede napotitve na zdravljenje v psihiatrične bolnišnice proti volji posameznika.

Varuh je tudi opravil pogovore z nekaterimi predstavniki drugih organov in institucij. Tako se je sestal z direktorjem Odškodninskega sklada RS glede vloge sklada v denacionalizacijskih postopkih. Varuh se je sestal tudi z direktorjem urada za invalide in z nekaterimi invalidskimi organizacijami v zvezi z vprašanji, ki tarejo invalide. Na sestanku z Zdravniško zbornico Slovenije je varuh sprožil vprašanje pritožbenih možnosti in vprašanje strokovnega nadzora. Ugotovljeno je bilo, da bo treba spremeniti in dopolniti zakon o zdravstveni dejavnosti. Združenje slovenskih častnikov je varuha seznanilo s svojo organizacijo. Tudi namestniki varuha, svetovalci in drugi strokovni sodelavci so imeli vrsto delovnih pogovorov z odgovornimi uslužbenci drugih organov. Tako so bili opravljeni delovni pogovori s predstavniki republiškega inšpektorata za okolje in prostor, tržne inšpekcije, upravne inšpekcije, inšpekcije za varstvo osebnih podatkov, glavnega davčnega urada, uprave za izvrševanje kazenskih sankcij, prehodnega doma za tujce, urada za priseljevanje in begunce in urada za pritožbe in notranjo zaščito ministrstva za notranje zadeve.

Poslovanje zunaj Ljubljane

Veliko pozornost posvečamo poslovanju zunaj Ljubljane, ker menimo, da tako omogočimo večjo dostopnost institucije tudi posameznikom iz bolj oddaljenih krajev. Tako je varuh opravil pogovore s predhodno napovedanimi posamezniki v vseh večjih regijskih središčih. Poslovanje zunaj Ljubljane zagotavlja delovanje institucije na celotnem območju države. Po odzivu posameznikov ugotavljamo, da se zanimanje za pogovore z varuhom zunaj Ljubljane povečuje. Posamezniki, ki so vložili pobudo za začetek postopka pri varuhu, večkrat izrazijo tudi željo za pogovor z varuhom, ko bo prišel na poslovanje v kraj ali v bližino kraja njihovega bivanja. V letu 1997 smo poslovali zunaj sedeža v Mariboru, Celju, Novem mestu, Novi Gorici, Kopru, Murski Soboti, Ptuju, Krškem in Črnomlju. Varuh je bil štirikrat v Mariboru in dvakrat na Ptuju, medtem ko je druga mesta obiskal po enkrat. V Mariboru je varuh skupaj z namestniki opravil 206 pogovorov, kar je 36 več kot lani. Glede na veliko zanimanje za pogovore z varuhom v Mariboru, nameravamo tudi v prihodnje posebno pozornost nameniti temu mestu. Sicer je bilo v drugih mestih povprečno opravljenih do 30 pogovorov, razen v Kopru, kjer je bilo 51 pogovorov.

Pogovori zunaj Ljubljane potekajo v prostorih občin. Za rešitev nekaterih problemov, ki se nanašajo na delo državnih organov na lokalni ravni in občin, lahko posredujemo takoj. Pogosto posameznika po opravljenem pogovoru napotimo na pristojni organ in mu naročimo, naj nas takoj obvesti, če ne bo mogel urediti svojega problema.Varuh se praviloma ob poslovanju na sedežu občine sreča tudi z županom in drugimi odgovornimi. Na tovrstnih srečanjih opozori na pomembnejše probleme iz pristojnosti lokalne skupnosti, ki jih obravnava, in pridobi informacijo o možnostih za njihovo razrešitev. Neposreden stik s pristojnimi, ki obravnavajo problem, omogoča hitrejše urejanje zadeve.

Če čas dopušča, varuh obisk v drugih slovenskih mestih razen za pogovore s posamezniki izkoristi tudi za druga opravila.V Črnomlju je bil gost dobro obiskane okrogle mize, na kateri je predstavil vlogo in pristojnosti institucije. V Novi Gorici in Kopru se je seznanil z bivalnimi razmerami v obeh zaporih. Na obisku v Mariboru je pregledal prostore za pridržanje in knjigo evidence pridržanj, ki jo vodi policijska postaja. Opozoril je na nekatere pomanjkljivosti, kot na primer, da so prostori za pridržanje brez oken in dnevne svetlobe, kar ni primerno za daljše pridržanje.Varuh je tudi obiskal Psihiatrično bolnišnico Maribor, kjer je opravil več pogovorov s posamezniki na zaprtem oddelku. Varuh se je odzval vabilu župana občine Loški Potok in se tam seznanil s problemi, ki tarejo to manj razvito občino. Sodeloval je na tribuni, kjer je predstavil institucijo in odgovarjal na vprašanja sodelujočih. Zelo pogosto je sodeloval v kontaktnih oddajah na lokalnih radijskih in televizijskih postajah, kjer je tudi odgovarjal na vprašanja poslušalcev oziroma gledalcev.

Pogovori v uradu

V prostorih urada je bilo v tem letu opravljenih skupaj okoli 900 osebnih pogovorov s pobudniki ter okrog 7.900 telefonskih pogovorov, predvsem po brezplačni telefonski številki.

Odnosi z javnostmi

Zakon o varuhu človekovih pravic v drugem odstavku 8. člena pravi, da “o svojih ugotovitvah in ukrepih varuh obvešča javnost in državni zbor”. Letno poročilo varuha je vsakoletna najobsežnejša javna informacija DZ in javnosti, varuh pa vseskozi o svojem delu, ugotovitvah o stopnji spoštovanja človekovih pravic in temeljnih svoboščin ter pravni varnosti državljanov v Republiki Sloveniji obvešča tudi medije in čim širši krog javnosti. V prizadevanjih za varovanje in promocijo človekovih pravic je pri delu varuha sodelovanje in podpora medijev bistvenega pomena.

Varuh obvešča medije in javnosti o svojem delu, posameznih primerih, pojasnjuje svoja mnenja, kritike in priporočila za rešitev nerešenih posamičnih ali sistemskih problemov. Celotno varuhovo delo in komuniciranje z različnimi javnostmi ima dva glavna cilja. Po eni strani tiste, ki sprejemajo odločitve in zagotavljajo njihovo izvajanje, varuh poziva k doslednemu spoštovanju človekovih pravic na vseh področjih, po drugi strani pa si varuh prizadeva za čim boljšo obveščenost in ozaveščenost ljudi o njihovih pravicah in poteh, po katerih jih lahko dosežejo. O teh temah je v letu 1997 spregovoril na devetih novinarskih konferencah, naj bo v njegovih prostorih v Ljubljani, ali ob njegovem poslovanju v katerem od drugih slovenskih krajev ter v številnih pogovorih za televizijo, radio oziroma časnike in revije.

Velike pozornosti je bil na primer deležen varuhov obisk v begunskem centru v Hrastniku, o čemer so obsežno poročali številni mediji. Ustrezno pozornost so mediji posvetili tudi mednarodnim stikom varuha, zlasti udeležbi na šestem srečanju evropskih nacionalnih ombudsmanov v Izraelu. Precejšnjo pozornost pa so mediji posvetili tudi obravnavi letnih poročil varuha za leti 1995 in 1996 v DZ ter izjavi varuha ob 10. decembru, mednarodnem dnevu človekovih pravic. Čedalje pogosteje se na varuha obračajo tudi tuji novinarji, pri čemer naj omenimo, da je ugledni nemški časnik Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung objavil tudi obsežnejši članek o delu varuha človekovih pravic v Sloveniji.

Sodelovanju z različnimi javnostmi bomo v prihodnje posvečali še več pozornosti, za to področje pa bo še posebej skrbel tudi samostojni strokovni sodelavec za odnose z javnostmi in mednarodno sodelovanje, ki je v uradu varuha zaposlen od 1. oktobra 1997.

Mednarodno sodelovanje varuha človekovih pravic v letu 1997

Varuh človekovih pravic v Republiki Sloveniji je bil leta 1996 izvoljen za člana ožjega vodstva mednarodnega združenja ombudsmanov ter za podpredsednika evropskega združenja ombudsmanov. Prevzem pomembnih dolžnosti na mednarodni ravni odseva tudi krepitev mednarodnega sodelovanja v letu 1997.

Aprila je varuh obiskal Institucijo ombudsmanov Federacije Bosne in Hercegovine in se ob tej priložnosti srečal s predstavnico Organizacije za varnost in sodelovanje v Evropi Greto Haller ter predsednikom in podpredsednikom Federacije BiH Vladimirjem Šoliæem in Ejupom Ganiæem. Med delovnim obiskom v BiH je obiskal Bihaæ, Mostar in Sarajevo, kjer se je tudi srečal s tam živečimi Slovenci.

Na povabilo direktorata za človekove pravice pri Svetu Evrope se je varuh sredi maja v Strasbourgu udeležil posveta z naslovom Socialna listina za 21. stoletje, ki ga je organiziral generalni sekretariat Sveta Evrope. Posveta so se udeležili predstavniki držav članic Sveta Evrope, parlamentarne skupščine Sveta Evrope, mednarodnih in nevladnih organizacij, socialnih partnerjev ter predstavniki iz akademskih krogov. Osrednja tema posveta sta bila pomen evropske socialne listine in razprava o možnostih za njeno nadaljnje izboljšanje.

Svet Evrope je konec maja v Strasbourgu pripravil seminar o predlogu za ustanovitev pooblaščenca Sveta Evrope za človekove pravice. Varuh je imel ob tej priložnosti odmeven referat z naslovom Vloga in izkušnje ombudsmana v novi demokraciji, v katerem je na primeru Slovenije podrobneje predstavil izkušnje in ugotovitve o delu ombudsmana v državah na prehodu.

Na povabilo Urada parlamentarnih ombudsmanov Litve je bil varuh v začetku junija na delovnem obisku v Litvi, kjer se je sestal s podpredsednikom tamkajšnjega parlamenta, predsednikom ustavnega sodišča, člani litovskega parlamentarnega odbora za človekove in državljanske pravice ter parlamentarnimi ombudsmani.

Po delovnem obisku v Litvi pa je varuh nadaljeval pot v latvijsko prestolnico Rigo, kjer se je udeležil III. Mednarodne delavnice razvojnega programa Združenih narodov (UNDP) o ombudsmanu in nacionalnih institucijah za varovanje človekovih pravic. Med številnimi udeleženci, predvsem iz srednje in vzhodne Evrope, je varuh obširno predstavil institucijo varuha človekovih pravic, predvsem z vidika pristojnosti, organiziranosti in obsega dela.

Junija se je varuh v okviru obiska v Kanadi in ZDA sestal z ombudsmanoma Quebeca, Danielom Jacobyjem ter Ontaria, Roberto Jamieson. V Torontu je ob sodelovanju tamkajšnjih slovenskih združenj ponudil možnost za osebne pogovore z vsemi, ki imajo probleme v postopkih pred organi Republike Slovenije, in govoril na prireditvi z naslovom Slovenski dan. V Clevelandu se je udeležil proslave ob slovenskem državnem prazniku in sodeloval na okrogli mizi.

Julija je bil pri varuhu na delovnem obisku ombudsman Republike Litve Julius Jasaitis s sodelavci. Gostje so se ob tej priložnosti seznanili s praktičnimi vidiki delovanja in pristojnostmi varuha človekovih pravic v Republiki Sloveniji, se srečali s predstavniki urada predsednika Republike ter ustavnega sodišča, s predsednico parlamentarnega odbora za notrajno politiko in pravosodje, ogledali pa so si tudi prehodni dom za tujce in se pogovarjali z njegovim direktorjem. Gostje iz Litve so si med obiskom v Sloveniji ogledali tudi Zavod za prestajanje kazni zapora Dob in se pogovarjali z njegovim vodstvom.

Septembra se je varuh v Jeruzalemu udeležil šestega srečanja evropskih nacionalnih ombudsmanov. Slovenski ombudsman je imel ob tej priložnosti v imenu svojih evropskih kolegic in kolegov pozdravni govor na sprejemu pri izraelskem predsedniku Ezerju Weizmanu. Prav tako septembra se je varuh srečal z ustavno komisijo švedskega parlamenta in članom komisije predstavil ustavni položaj varuha človekovih pravic v Sloveniji in izkušnje iz dosedanjega delovanja.

Oktobra je bil varuh na večdnevnem obisku v nemškem bundestagu, kjer se je med drugim sestal s predsednico odbora za peticije Christo Nickels, posebno parlamentarno pooblaščenko za vojsko Claire Marienfeld, poleg tega pa se je udeležil tudi zasedanja omenjenega odbora in seje bundestaga, na kateri so obravnavali letno poročilo odbora za peticije. Med obiskom v Dresdnu pa se je varuh sestal s saškim deželnim ministrom za pravosodje Steffenom Heitmanom in predstavniki odbora za peticije v saškem deželnem parlamentu.

Konec novembra se je varuh na povabilo predsednice mehiške nacionalne komisije za človekove pravice dr. Mireille Roccatti v Meridi v Mehiki udeležil četrte mednarodne delavnice o nacionalnih institucijah za promocijo in varovanje človekovih pravic. Udeleženci mednarodne delavnice, med njimi je bilo tudi precej nacionalnih ombudsmanov iz Evrope in drugih delov sveta, so na srečanju razpravljali o krepitvi sodelovanja med nacionalnimi institucijami za promocijo in varovanje človekovih pravic, o posebej občutljivih in obrobnih skupinah, o migracijskih gibanjih in boju proti rasizmu in ksenofobiji ter o ekonomskih, socialnih in kulturnih pravicah oziroma pravici do razvoja v sodobnem svetu.

Na povabilo varuha je bil decembra na obisku ombudsman (ljudski pravobranilec) Republike Makedonije Branko Naumovski s sodelavci. Naumovski, ki je kot prvi makedonski ombudsman začel svoje delo šele sredi leta 1997, se je z gostiteljem pogovarjal o izkušnjah in problemih, s katerimi se pri svojem delu srečuje slovenski ombudsman, seznanil pa se je tudi z delovanjem in organizacijo njegovega urada. Gost iz Makedonije je sodeloval tudi na novinarski konferenci, ki smo jo pripravili pred mednarodnim dnevom človekovih pravic.

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