Peter Svetina, the human rights ombudsman, has received Matej Arčon, the minister for Slovenians abroad, for a get-to-know-you visit, at which he delivered his annual report for 2021. They spoke about the position of Slovenians in neighbouring regions and around the world, and Slovenia’s role in their protection and in support for preserving their identity. Mr Svetina briefed the minister on the ombudsman’s active role in monitoring and alerting bodies in Slovenia with regard to their actions in connection with Slovenians abroad. Concern for this community is also a constitutional obligation, under Article 5 of the Slovenian constitution.
He informed the minister that the institution of the ombudsman handled five investigations in 2021 where an issued was identified, in a special subsection on Slovenians abroad, where the investigations were mostly initiated at the ombudsman’s own accord, and one of these was substantiated. He also briefed the minister on his international activities, where together with other ombudsmen he is also raising questions of respect for and enforcement of rights guaranteed to Slovenian minorities. He agreed with the minister that awareness of the issues affecting Slovenians abroad is important, as is their inclusion in teaching plans at primary and secondary schools, as more than half a million Slovenians live outside the borders of the country.
They talked about youth education in Slovenian schools in Klagenfurt and Trieste, and the concept of brain circulation instead of brain drain, where young people gain knowledge abroad before returning home. Mr Svetina also emphasised that the institution of the ombudsman is working well with his fellow ombudsmen in cases where citizens of Slovenia face difficulties in other countries.