The National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia on the occasion if its reading of the 1998 report of the Human Rights Ombudsman passed, on the basis of Article 173 of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly, the following
1. The National Assembly has familiarised itself with the fourth regular annual report of the Human Rights Ombudsman for 1998.
2. The National Assembly supports the Human Rights Ombudsman (the Ombudsman), who through decisive action and functioning, and within the remit of his powers, ensures a high level of awareness that respect and protection of human rights and basic freedoms is one of the most important values in a democratic society, and supports the proposals of the Ombudsman relating to the earliest possible adoption of appropriate legislation in individual areas, this being essential for the successful protection of rights, and necessary for improving legal security and the formal protection of rights.
3. The National Assembly supports the findings of the Ombudsman that the functioning of the state based on the rule of law in individual sections of public life is still not satisfactory, for there remain unresolved a range of systemic problems such as the non-harmonised and substantively inappropriate labour legislation and the backlogs in the courts and in other state bodies, for which reason certain basic constitutional rights of citizens are being violated.
4. The National Assembly supports the findings of the Ombudsman that as a result of staffing and other factors in individual bodies of the first and second instance, lengthy decision-making on provisional questions and legal remedies, the actions of participants in the procedure and also as a result of inherent complexity, there have been marked delays in the process of denationalisation, which dictates the need for all factors involved in the denationalisation process to invest some effort in the accelerated resolving of demands for denationalisation.
5. The National Assembly supports the findings of the Ombudsman that there are many specific problems that individuals encounter which are the result or reflection of inadequate and outdated legislation, and which are not adjusted to the legal foundations and actual situation in society. For this reason it recommends that the Government of the Republic of Slovenia (the Government) speeds up the drafting of the necessary laws and that at the same time, or within a set time, the Constitutional Court eliminates the identified lack of harmony between individual laws and eliminates the inadequacies of new laws that have been demonstrated in their practical implementation.
6. The National Assembly supports the findings of the Ombudsman that in connection with the treatment of detained persons in Slovenia, real respect of human rights and basic freedoms in the imposition of penal sanctions and particularly in addressing prison sentences should be expressed primarily in the specific attitude towards each individual serving a prison sentence or under detention, and this criterion may also serve as a basis for a true evaluation of the state of affairs in Slovenia’s detention and imprisonment facilities.
7. The National Assembly recommends that the Government, as a matter of urgency for the protection of constitutional rights, which are being restricted in the forced confinement and treatment of patients with mental illness, and in view of the inadequate legislation providing judicial supervision of this sensitive area of human privacy and personal rights, does everything necessary for the earliest possible adoption of a law which would comprehensively settle this area.
8. The National Assembly supports the recommendations of the Ombudsman that it will be necessary to continue devoting special attention to various types of social problems, including the acute issue of social exclusion through long-term unemployment and cases of poverty, where particular mention should be made of the vulnerable position of children in families which encounter these problems.
9. The National Assembly supports the efforts of the Ombudsman for the earliest possible adoption of a law that would facilitate the consistent fulfilment of the provision contained in Article 39, paragraph two of the Constitution, whereby everyone has the right to obtain information of a public nature in which he or she has under law a well founded legal interest. Here it should be stressed that the public transparency of the work of state bodies, as well as their openness and facilitation of access to information of a public nature, is an essential component of a modern, democratic country ruled by law.
10. The research department of the National Assembly should draft a comparative review of European countries, focusing on the possibility of setting up a special ombudsman for children’s rights.
11. Within the current term, the National Assembly will draft a report on the fulfilment of resolutions adopted upon reading of the four regular annual reports of the Ombudsman.
12. The National Assembly proposes that the Government speeds up reform of the public administration, and submits to the National Assembly at the earliest opportunity appropriate legislative proposals (Civil Servants Act and the Organisation of the Government, Ministers and Administration Act).
13. The National Assembly proposes that within a deadline of three months the Government drafts a report on how it is responding to the cautions of the Ombudsman in connection with inadequate legislation, which is in many areas giving rise to a range of initiatives and complaints from citizens and is even preventing the effective resolving of issues and problems which affect protection of human rights.
Such a report should in future be drafted every year by the Government, and the National Assembly should include it in the parliamentary agenda, deliberating upon it at the same time as the Ombudsman’s report for that individual year.
14. The National Assembly proposes that the Government drafts at the earliest opportunity, and if possible within this term, a special law on protection of patients’ rights, to provide more effective protection of patients’ rights, whereby the entire healthcare system would also be improved.
15. The National Assembly proposes that from the aspect of protection of patients’ rights the Government studies the possibility of setting up a special ombudsman for the area of healthcare.
16. In drafting the law governing public media the Government should study the possibility of setting up an ombudsman for the area of public communications.
17. The Government should acquaint the National Assembly with the resolutions it has passed following its perusal of the Ombudsman’s report for 1998.