Point 35 - the Fifth Regular Annual Report of the Human Rights Ombudsman for 1999 and the Sixth Regular Annual Report of the Human Rights Ombudsman for 2000 - EPA 1159-II and EPA 213-II (28 September 2001)
1. The National Assembly agrees with the ombudsman’s assessment that statutes important for the protection of human rights need to be adopted quickly and observes that the statutory procedures relating to draft laws from the public administration sphere are already under way.
2. The openness of the work of state bodies, the transparency of their operations and the possibility of access to data and information of a public nature need to be promoted and developed rapidly. This is also a right guaranteed by Article 39 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia. There is no doubt that these are important elements of a modern, democratic state governed by the rule of law.
3. The amendment of statutes which the Constitutional Court has found to be in disagreement with the Constitution is still too slow and must be speeded up. To this end, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, which is bound to submit proposals for regulation by statute to eliminate unlawful elements identified by a decision of by the Constitutional Court in good time to the National Assembly, should direct its efforts towards the preparation of the necessary statutory acts.
4. The National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia calls on bodies of the state administration and competent local government bodies to respect the statutory deadlines for decision-making when deciding on rights, obligations and legal benefits in administrative proceedings.
5. The National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia proposes to the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, in relation to the protection of human rights in administrative proceedings:
• that it study the suitability of the legislation defining the competences of public institutions in administrative procedure, particularly in the sphere of the protection of cultural and natural heritage, and provide ongoing administrative supervision in accordance with regulations;
• that it speed up the preparation of legislation in the sphere of construction, spatial planning, and activities which affect the environment, with a special emphasis on the role of public institutions and on the method of exercising public authority and issuing consent.
6. The National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia proposes to the Government of the Republic of Slovenia that it adapt the existing code of conduct for civil servants to the concepts set out by the Civil Servants Act and that, in the spirit of a citizen-friendly administration, it raise this code of conduct from the symbolic level to the legally-binding level, with appropriate punishment of violations. At the same time attention will need to be devoted to the appropriate remuneration of administrative employees, so that a shortage of qualified personnel does not further threaten the work of this important sphere of the state administration.
7. In relation to prison overcrowding, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia should act more effectively in the sense of providing additional funds from the budget for an increase in capacities and the preparation of medium-term and long-term investment plans for the adaptation and construction of prisons. It should be noted however that some positive steps have already been taken in this sphere.
8. In the light of the still-present court backlogs, every effort must be made to address matters more effectively. This includes sufficient funds for the technological modernisation of the work of justice bodies and the further training of judges. In this connection, the project already under way, which aims to contribute to the more effective addressing and elimination of this problem, should be supported.
9. In relation to the still-present difficulties and the implementation of the Denationalisation Act, the activity of those responsible for the more rapid conclusion of denationalisation procedures should be increased. In this connection, the series of resolutions adopted by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia representing certain organisational, procedural, staffing and financial measures for the more effective implementation of the Denationalisation Act should be supported.
10. Particular care and attention needs to be devoted to the proper supervision of cases of possible inappropriate behaviour by employees in institutions housing patients with mental disturbances.
11. In view of the aggravation of problems in the sphere of immigration as a result of the extraordinary increase in the number of immigrants, for which the competent bodies were not sufficiently prepared, every effort must be made to normalise conditions in this sphere and put measures in place that will enable the management of such phenomena in Slovenia.
12. In view of certain inadequacies in electoral legislation and a number of unconstitutionalities identified by the Constitutional Court, changes and additions to electoral laws need to adopted as soon as possible and efforts intensified for the preparation of more complete regulation of the referendum issue.
13. The Government of the Republic of Slovenia should invest more efforts in eliminating backlogs in labour law matters, particularly since parties to proceedings of this type are often in a precarious financial situation, while on the other hand it can happen that as a result of unsuitable and outdated legislation employers are also in considerable uncertainty. At the same time the appropriate state bodies should devote more attention to questions relating to the issue of human rights arising from employment, the problems of unemployment and certain issues connected to social problems, housing policy and other matters relating to a wide circle of citizens and the exercising of their rights in a particular sphere.
14. The National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia supports the initiative of the Human Rights Ombudsman to establish within the existing ombudsman institution an internal organisational unit specialising in the protection of children’s rights.
15. The National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia calls on competent bodies to take all necessary steps to ensure the dignified marking of the burial places of people killed in the aftermath of the war, their symbolic funeral, the establishing of lists of these people, respectful handling of remains, and the access of relatives to all data concerning the fate of the deceased.
16. The National Assembly supports the Opinion of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia on the Fifth and Sixth Regular Annual Reports of the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Slovenia for 1999 and 2000 respectively.
17. In the future, when considering the ombudsman’s regular annual reports, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia should prepare a special programme or review of activities in progress in individual ministries for the resolution of open questions to which the ombudsman draws attention.
18. In view of the topicality of the issues, when considering the ombudsman’s regular annual reports in the future, the National Assembly will prepare its own review of activities and a review of those statutory acts that on the basis of a decision of the Constitutional Court need to be brought into line with the Constitution.
19. The National Assembly suggests to the Human Rights Ombudsman that in addition to the regular annual report that he submits to the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, he also exercise his right to address partial or special reports to the competent working bodies of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia and in this way take an active part in the regulation of a specific sphere that is particularly sensitive from the point of view of the protection of human rights.