Natisni vsebino

Ombudsman: Some Things Have Improved in the Last Six Years

16.02.2007 13:10
Category: work and news, relations with civil society, international activities, relations with state bodies, speeches

Human Rights Ombudsman Matjaz Hanzek, whose six-year term expires next week, believes that some things have changed for the better during his term, while some burning issues remain, for example discrimination and hate speech.

"When I took over six years ago I had no idea that things would get to a point when the CoE's Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg would have to visit Slovenia," Hanzek told STA.He was referring to the case of the Roma family which was relocated by the government after a stand-off with the locals, which prompted a visit by Hammarberg."I thought politicians had a better sense of reality and cared more about the reputation of Slovenia that to deal in an off-hand manner with the recommendations of international organisations."In Slovenia not only do state institutions not resolve the problems, they even scorn the international organisations, he said.The CoE's human rights commissioner works by trying to arouse guilty conscience, relying on the basic level of democratic culture in the country. "The principle of arousing guilty conscience does not work in Slovenia", Hanzek said.The outgoing ombudsman believes that the police is one institution that respected his recommendation. The police act and executive regulation were amended, he explained. Important changes were also introduced in public administration.

Hanzek also told STA that his main aim when taking over the post was making the institution of the ombudsman better known and in his opinion he achieved that.In the past the ombudsman usually worked as an arbiter in cases of human rights violations; during his term the institution also started with the promotion of human rights and education on the subject, he explained.In Hanzek's opinion "people should be aware that the rights they demand for themselves also apply to others." The same people who condemn the discrimination of Slovenian minority in Austria often do not see the parallels with their own conduct, he noted."If someone is in distress they should not blame those who are not responsible," Hanzek said. When someone does not have a job, minorities are not the ones to be blamed, it is the fault of incompetent politicians who cannot solve problems.Hanzek has also noticed that when the situation changes and people find themselves in a different role, they tend to forget about their former situation. Those who experienced discrimination are not necessarily more tolerant, he explained.On 21 February Hanzek will be succeeded by psychiatrist Zdenka Cebasek Travnik.

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