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Hanzek Points to Lengthy Custody Cases Ahead of Child Week

Human Rights Ombudsman Matjaz Hanzek has pointed to lengthy custody cases in a traditional press conference ahead of Child Week. Saying that children suffer as a result of the slow functioning of courts in such cases, Hanzek criticised the relevant institutions for being "scared to act". According to the ombudsman, children should have the right to give their opinion in custody cases, which would have precedence over everything else. Moreover, Hanzek called on the relevant institutions to make sure that custody cases are resolved quickly. According to Hanzek's assistant, Tone Dolcic, the majority of complaints received by the ombudsman's office involving children concern the child's relationship with the parents. Often we get cases where parents become overly possessive of their child, he said. What is more, children are often used as instruments in disputes between parents, Dolcic said. Hanzek, meanwhile, added that the courts and child welfare institutions must strive to resolve cases involving children faster. As part of Child Week, the ombudsman's office is to organise activities around Slovenia. Among other things, a round table on human and child rights is to be held, featuring Hanzek and other participants.