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Slovenia, Varuh človekovih pravic

15.02.2000 18:40
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Work

Statistics

1. Received complaints

From 1 January to 31 December 1999 the ombudsman received a total of 3,411 complaints (2,352 in 1995, 2,513 in 1996, 2,886 in 1997 and 3,448 in 1998), which is a 1.1 per cent decrease on 1998. Table 1 shows the number of complaints received in 1999 by individual area. For the sake of comparison, the table also shows data for individual years for the period between 1995 and 1998.

As in previous years, the largest share of all complaints received in 1999 referred to the following areas:

  • court and police procedures: 946 or 27.7 per cent;
  • other matters: 711 or 20.8 per cent and
  • administrative affairs: 635 or 18.6 per cent of all complaints received.

The table clearly shows that the number of complaints received in 1999 increased most substantially in the following areas relative to 1998:

  • public services: from 37 to 72 complaints, which is an increase of as much as 94.6 per cent and
  • environment: from 56 to 97 complaints, which is a 73.2 per cent increase.

Table 1 

Area of Ombudsman's work

Registered complaints

Index

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

(99/98)

No.

Share

No.

Share

No.

Share

No.

Share

No.

Share

1. Constitutional rights

37

1.6%

37

1.5%

43

1.5%

58

1.7%

45

1.3%

77.6

2. Restriction of personal freedom

74

3.1%

145

5.8%

128

4.4%

213

6.4%

174

5.1%

81.7

3. Social security

251

10.7%

302

12.0%

397

13.8%

404

12.1%

409

12.0%

101.2

4. Labour relations

125

5.3%

88

3.5%

138

4.8%

221

6.6%

217

6.4%

98.2

5. Administrative affairs

565

24.0%

521

20.7%

663

23.0%

697

20.8%

635

18.6%

91.1

6. Court and police procedures

478

20.3%

761

30.3%

776

26.9%

881

26.3%

946

27.7%

107.4

7. Environment

61

2.6%

75

3.0%

71

2.5%

56

1.7%

97

2.8%

173.2

8. Public services

27

1.1%

33

1.3%

26

0.9%

37

1.1%

72

2.1%

194.6

9. Housing matters

204

8.7%

141

5.6%

126

4.4%

158

4.7%

105

3.1%

66.5

10. Others

530

22.5%

410

16.3%

518

17.9%

623

18.6%

711

20.8%

114.1

TOTAL

2,352

100%

2,513

100%

2,886

100%

3,448

100%

3,411

100%

98.9


2. Complaints processed

Table 2 shows data on the total number of complaints that were processed by the ombudsman by individual area in the period between 1995 and 1999. The group of complaints processed incorporates complaints received in 1999, complaints brought forward from 1998, and cases reopened in 1999.

The table shows that in 1999 a total of 4,074 complaints were processed. which means that 2.4 per cent more complaints were processed relative to 1998, of which:

  • 3,411 complaints were received in 1999 (83.71 per cent);
  • 475 complaints were brought forward from 1998 (11.7 per cent) and
  • 188 cases were reopened in 1998 (4.6 per cent of all complaints processed).

The following areas account for the largest shares of complaints processed in 1999:

  • court and police procedures (27.4 per cent), which incorporates complaints arising from police, pre-trial, criminal, and civil procedures, labour and social dispute procedures, administrative court procedures, and misdemeanour procedures;
  • other matters (20.4 per cent), which incorporates those complaints which are not possible to be classified into any of the defined areas and
  • administrative affairs (19.3 per cent).

Table 2 

Area of Ombudsman's work

Complaints being processed

Index

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

(99/98)

No.

Share

No.

Share

No.

Share

No.

Share

No.

Share

1. Constitutional rights

37

1.6%

63

1.6%

54

1.4%

65

1.6%

53

1.3%

81.5

2. Restriction of personal freedom

74

3.1%

200

5.0%

179

4.6%

260

6.5%

227

5.6%

87.3

3. Social security

251

10.7%

469

11.8%

528

13.7%

487

12.2%

478

11.7%

98.2

4. Labour relations

125

5.3%

157

3.9%

181

4.7%

246

6.2%

233

5.7%

94.7

5. Administrative affairs

565

24.0%

868

21.8%

855

22.2%

852

21.4%

831

20.4%

97.5

6. Court and police procedures

478

20.3%

1,036

26.0%

1,086

28.2%

1,073

27.0%

1,118

27.4%

104.2

7. Environment

61

2.6%

122

3.1%

119

3.1%

83

2.1%

121

3.0%

145.8

8. Public services

27

1.1%

49

1.2%

38

1.0%

46

1.2%

84

2.1%

182.6

9. Housing matters

204

8.7%

264

6.6%

178

4.6%

185

4.6%

141

3.5%

76.2

10. Others

530

22.5%

753

18.9%

636

16.5%

683

17.2%

788

19.3%

115.4

TOTAL

2,352

100%

3,981

100%

3,854

100%

3,980

100%

4,074

100%

102.4


3. Resolved cases

In 1999, 3,727 cases were resolved (1,875 in 1995, 3,282 in 1996, 3,442 in 1997 and 3,505 in 1998), which is a 6.3 per cent increase in the number of resolved cases relative to 1998.

On the basis of a comparison between the number of cases resolved (3,727) and the number of cases received in 1999 (3,411), we can conclude that in 1999 more cases were resolved than received by the ombudsman, which can be seen to be the result of regular processing of cases. 

4. Resolved cases by individual departments

Table 3 shows classifications of resolved cases by departments (the classification by departments was carried out in accordance with the Government Act) in 1999. Individual cases are classified into an appropriate department on the basis of the nature of the problem which prompted people to turn to the ombudsman.

The table clearly shows that the largest shares of cases resolved in 1999 fall under the departments of:

  • justice (1,188 cases or 31.9 per cent);
  • labour, the family and social affairs (697 cases or 18.7 per cent); and
  • environment (605 cases or 16.2 per cent of all cases resolved).

Table 3 

Department

Resolved complaints

Index (99/98)

1998

1999

Number

Share

Number

Share

Labour, the family and social affairs

698

19.9%

697

18.7%

99.9

Economic relations and development

26

0.7%

32

0.9%

123.1

Finance

103

2.9%

95

2.5%

92.2

Economy

13

0.4%

23

0.6%

176.9

Agriculture, forestry, food

32

0.9%

24

0.6%

75.0

Culture

5

0.1%

4

0.1%

80.0

Internal affairs

366

10.4%

455

12.2%

124.3

Defence

63

1.8%

50

1.3%

79.4

Environment

389

11.1%

605

16.2%

155.5

Justice

1,139

32.5%

1,188

31.9%

104.3

Transport and communications

31

0.9%

58

1.6%

187.1

Education and sport

63

1.8%

53

1.4%

84.1

Health

85

2.4%

103

2.8%

121.2

Science and technology

4

0.1%

1

0.0%

25.0

Foreign affairs

8

0.2%

7

0.2%

87.5

Government services

3

0.1%

2

0.1%

66.7

Local government

135

3.9%

108

2.9%

80.0

Others

342

9.8%

222

6.0%

64.9

TOTAL

3,505

100%

3,727

100%

106.3


5. Justification of complaints

Among the total number of 3,727 cases resolved in 1999, 1,187 were entirely or partly justified, which is 31.8 per cent of all complaints for which the procedure of processing by the ombudsman was completed in 1999. The share of justified complaints in 1999 was somewhat greater relative to previous years (26.0 per cent in 1995, 26.1 per cent in 1996, 21.9 per cent in 1997 and 22.0 per cent in 1998). We have assessed that compared to related institutions the share of these complaints is relatively large. 


Statement at Human Rights Day

Slovene Ombudsman issued a statement at Human Rights Day stressing that the efforts for human rights respect have contributed to great progress in the second half of the century, yet many challenges are still ahead.

The institution of Human Rights Ombudsman in Slovenia has been five years old. Over the course of these five years we have addressed the problems of many people and offered them assistance. At the same time, through our warnings, proposals and recommendations, we have contributed to an improvement in the position of the individual in many areas, said Mr. Bizjak.

Though it is true that brutal and systematic violations of fundamental human rights do not occur in Slovenia, we are witness to numerous problems in the exercising of human rights which derive more than anything else from the poor functioning of the state. The main problem, to which our attention is even drawn by other countries, remains the large backlogs in court and administrative procedures and the related inefficiency of state bodies. It is right to expect that the representatives of all three branches of authority will succeed in determining and carrying out priority tasks on behalf of citizens, for we cannot and should not reconcile ourselves to the existing state of affairs, stressed Slovene Ombudsman.

Among the priorities in the future Mr. Bizjak mentioned that his institution shall continue to devote particular attention to the exercising of the rights of society’s most sensitive groups. Celebrating the tenth anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Slovene Ombudsman placed special emphasis on the full exercising of the human rights of every one of these, the weakest of our fellow human beings. He was also happy to be able to mention the foundation of a maintenance fund, which was at the end of 1999 becoming fully operational.

The International Year of the Elderly is, as Mr. Bizjak mentioned, above all an opportunity and incentive for us to enable older people security and broad possibilities for the realisation of their personal expectations. Our reflection on the respecting of the rights of our fellow human beings must not overlook the deprived, the weak and the vulnerable among us. Efforts to improve the situation of the disabled, of refugees and other foreigners, and of all who are ‘different’ in one way or another, should be reflected, not by lofty words, but by committed action, stressed at the end Slovene Ombudsman.

Institutional care of old people

Deputy Ombudsman Mr. Aleš Butala prepared a study on the situation of the old people in Slovenia especially from the point of view of the institutional care provided in old people’s homes, which replace or supplement the function of the home and family, providing somewhere to live, food, care and health care. Population in Slovenia is getting older (according to the statistic data there will be in year 2000 13.6 % of Slovene population older than 65 years) and therefore it is a cause for concern that old people’s homes have been over-occupied for several years.

Study stresses that it is urgent to expand the capacity of these homes and ensure high quality of service and needed privacy, which is for the people living in such homes of great importance.

On the other hand it is necessary to look after other possibilities of the care for the old people which would allow them to stay at home or close to it as long as possible. Among them in the study safeguarded apartments and nursing hospitals are mentioned. This possibility would be very useful in cases where an individual only requires care for a certain time when recovering from illness or recuperating from an injury.
 

International contacts

IOI Board of Directors meeting in South Africa

From November 8 to 10, 1999 Mr. Ivan Bizjak take part at the IOI Board of Directors meeting in Pretoria, South Africa. Participants got acquainted themselves with the report on the work of the IOI in the previous year and discussed among others about the development of the ombudsman institution in different parts of the world and about relations between IOI and UN. The Board decided to continue its efforts to increase the establishment of ombudsman and human rights offices around the world and to support the existing offices. At the meeting Sir Brian Elwood, Ombudsman of New Zealand, has been elected new president of the IOI.

Workshop on Ombudsman and Human Rights Institutions in Kazakhstan

UNDP, Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS in cooperation with the OHCHR and OSCE organized Fifth UNDP International Workshop on Ombudsman and Human Rights Institutions, which has been held from November 15 to 17 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The key themes were developing a system of benchmarking and improving the effectiveness of Ombudsman and Human Rights Institutions, the role of Ombudsman and Human Rights Institution in Multi-Ethnic Societies and instruments of strengthening Ombudsman and Human Rights Institutions.

Slovene Ombudsman has been invited as an expert to share his experience in establishing an Ombudsman office in his country, to inform the participants of the workshop about networking between ombudsmen and human rights institutions and to chair one of the working groups, discussing effectiveness of these institutions.

Deputy ombudsman of Slovenia in Sarajevo and Baku

Deputy Ombudsman of Slovenia Mr. Jernej Rovšek participated in November at the Seminar in Sarajevo, organized by Council of Europe Directorate of Human Rights, The Commission for Democracy through Law "Venice Commission" and the Ombudsmen of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The aim of the seminar was to support passing of the law on ombudsmen of the Federation of BiH and to stimulate the creation of the ombudsman institution in Republika Srpska.

As an expert of the Council of Europe Mr. Rovšek also participated at the workshop in Baku (Azerbaidjan). The aim of the workshop was to enable the creation of the ombudsman institution in this country.


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