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Human rights ombudsman concerned with irresponsiveness of state bodies

Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina has made nearly 160 concrete recommendations to a variety of state bodies in the 2019 annual report. He also expressed concern that as many as 200 recommendations made by his predecessors are yet to be implemented, with one dating back as far as 2013.

Handing over what is his first annual report in this capacity to Prime Minister Janez Janša and Speaker Igor Zorčič on Tuesday, Svetina urge those in charge to take action.

"I've come to realise that in some fields, we, as a society, are failing to move forward. Every day, my office continues to work with people whose rights are being violated."

He said that the non-responsiveness and slowness of state bodies was unacceptable, listing the Ministry of Labour, the Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, several municipalities, and social services the worst in responding to the ombudsman's recommendations.

Moreover, state bodies continue to fail to respect rulings of the Constitutional Court and the European Court for Human Rights, he said.

He belives this affects the legitimacy of operations of state institutions. Svetina also regretted that 13 Constitutional Court rulings remained only on paper.

In terms of violations detected last year, Svetina said violations of the principle of good management topped the list. There were also many cases of child right violations and discrimination against the disabled.

The Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman handled 5,600 cases last year and received nearly 3,000 initiatives from individuals.

Upon receiving the report, Janša urged implementing the overdue recommendations from the past as soon as possible, his office said in a release.

Svetina is scheduled to present the report to President Borut Pahor on Thursday and the National Assembly is to expected to debate it in autumn.