On the occasion of World Poverty Day, which is today, on 17 October 2022, Ombudsman Peter Svetina stresses that Slovenia is a social and rich country, but unfortunately not for everyone. "We are still far from being exemplary, with many people living below the poverty threshold and many of them being pensioners who still suffer lives of 'silent poverty', because they do not dare to talk about it. The pensions they receive, both regular pensions and, even more so, disability pensions, are so low that they are far below the poverty level. It is not acceptable that people who have worked for 40 years or more and have paid contributions to the pension fund receive such low and undignified pensions in their old age. Anyone who has worked, even for a minimum wage, should have a pension ensuring a dignified life. We made major mistakes in the pension system several years ago, so the State will have to put that right. There are too many anomalies in the system. For this reason too, I often raise concern over this issue and I will not give up until things change for the better. For me and for the institution I run, this situation is unacceptable in a developed society and in a country such as Slovenia," the Ombudsman notes.
On the occasion of World Poverty Day, he underlines that his work often involves cases of evictions and cases where people are left homeless due to minimal debts and are then plunged into poverty, including homelessness. "Poverty is certainly one of the most serious human rights violations, and the country’s attitude towards the most vulnerable is its best mirror. Tackling poverty and helping all those in need is not a duty of NGOs, but one of the State, which must respond to people’s distress immediately," Svetina emphasises.
The Ombudsman will continue to call for a more effective social policy. The State needs to tackle poverty in a systemic way and prevent it through more effective instruments, as it has cut into many lives and should not be allowed to exist in today’s age of prosperity.
On today’s international day for the eradication of poverty, Ombudsman Peter Svetina is also an honorary patron of the consultation entitled "Equal Access to Services and Information and Social Inclusion are the Conditions for Preventing Old-Age Poverty", which is being organised by the University of Ljubljana at the Maribor Cadet School. In his opinion, we need to raise awareness in society to identify stereotypes, to which such events contribute, because turning a blind eye to poverty and its consequences is not an option.