Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina performed his first operation outside headquarters in 2023 in Ankaran. He talked to the mayor of the municipality, Gregor Strmčnik, and visited the accommodation centre at Debeli rtič, which houses refugees from Ukraine. In Koper, he visited the branch office of the Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia, while complainants alerted him about the issue of the negative impact of the port on the environment, and their concerns about social care for older people in the municipality.
The Ombudsman talked to the management of the regional unit of the Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia primarily about bilingualism. Specifically, he was made aware that various bodies have different practices regarding the respect of Italian as the second official language in the area, hence the Ombudsman will call upon the Ministry of Public Administration for synchronisation.
With the management of the Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants the Ombudsman discussed the conditions in which refugees from Ukraine are living, about opportunities and challenges, and occasionally also the hopeless situation on account of the war in Ukraine. He was pleased that the inhabitants of the municipality had given a warm welcome to the (mostly) women with children and because children are appropriately included in the education system. The Ombudsman expects that the refugees will be able to stay in the accommodation centre in Debeli rtič or that the Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants will be able to continue using premises of the Ministry of the Interior.
Representatives of a civil initiative striving for the reduction of light and noise pollution of the area due to the operation of Luka Koper turned to the Ombudsman because they believe that their right to a healthy environment is being violated. The Ombudsman promised to discuss their complaint upon receiving it, and that he and his colleagues will make sure that violations, if found, will be eliminated and not repeated. In his statement to the public after the meeting, Mayor Gregor Strmčnik expressed hope that efforts to solve the problem would be supported by a tripartite agreement between the Municipality of Ankaran, Luka Koper, and the state, which would participate in two roles, i.e. as a majority owner of Luka Koper and as state spatial planning document producer for the area of the port.
The president of the Pensioner’s Organisation Ankaran informed the Ombudsman that Ankaran does not have a home for senior citizens. The Ombudsman and the Mayor discussed this issue and agreed that the local community must take care of the local population and that it needs to be done in the direction of deinstitutionalisation.
From now on, Ankaran will also have the Ombudsman’s Corner intended for those who are not skilled in communication through digital media. Here, they can get forms for making complaints to the Ombudsman and an explanation of the Ombudsman’s activities on paper.