Varuh ДЌlovekovih pravic

Centres for social work must be accessible to all

Varuh Svetina s predsednico republike Slovenije


On 28 March 2023, the Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina presented the Special Report of the Ombudsman about the accessibility of centres for social work (CSW) for people with movement and sensory impairments to the President of the Republic of Slovenia Nataša Pirc Musar. The preparation of the report about the accessibility of all units of CSW across Slovenia was prompted by anonymous complaints of users.

After checking accessibility for people with movement and sensory impairments, the Human Rights Ombudsman found that only three quarters of CSW units have access arranged for people with movement impairments, while 18 units do not have appropriate toilet facilities. Accessibility for people with sensory impairments is even more worrying: at the time of preparing the report, none of the CSW units provided relief signs and symbols or inscriptions in Braille writing, and the same holds true for written information displays, and video displays of important information in sign language and with subtitles. Ombudsman Svetina also pointed out some of the inappropriate responses from CSW units across Slovenia, which, in his belief, illustrate the demeaning attitude towards both people with disabilities and the Ombudsman.

The President of the Republic expressed her concern about the facts determined in the presented report and supported the Human Rights Ombudsman in his call to the government that, together with the competent bodies, they immediately eliminate these inadmissible and discriminatory obstacles to accessing CSWs. “My motto is dignity for all. Individual cases pointed out by Ombudsman Svetina today indicate that equality and accessibility for all people do not receive due attention, which is inappropriate and unacceptable. People and the state must not tolerate indifference to vulnerable groups. I expect the government and units of CSWs to take the Human Rights Ombudsman’s report very seriously and eliminate discriminatory deficiencies as soon as possible,” clearly stated the President of the Republic of Slovenia upon the presentation of the report.

At the meeting, the Human Rights Ombudsman also emphasised the provisions of the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities Act, which stipulate the elimination of architectonic obstacles by December 2025. “Today we are two years from the deadline and after almost 15 years since the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has come into force, many things in this field remain unregulated. In the two years ahead, the state and municipalities have a lot of work ahead of them. Slovenia as a developed and rich country has an obligation to do so,” added the Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina.