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Ombudsman submits annual report for 2021 to infrastructure minister

Peter Svetina, the human rights ombudsman, held a get-to-know-you meeting today, 7 July 2022, with Bojan Kumer, the minister of infrastructure, at which he delivered his annual report for 2021.

The ombudsman drew the minister’s attention to accessibility (or lack thereof) to institutions for people with mobility impairments, including schools, municipalities and administrative units, and to the construction of appropriate public infrastructure. “There are still issues with regard to access to courts for the disabled, and access to public schools for students with mobility impairments and long-term illnesses. It is not just overcoming architectural obstacles, the key is overcoming the obstacles in thinking and providing the right infrastructure to grant equal treatment to everyone in society and ensure their social inclusion,” highlighted Mr Svetina at the meeting.

He also raised issues in passenger transport, and reminded the minister that the ten-year transition period for ensuring that persons with disabilities have equal access to public transport by road ended two years ago. Because equal access has not yet been ensured at the level required by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities Act, particularly in inter-regional passenger transport, the ombudsman has previously addressed criticism to the infrastructure ministry in this regard. He appealed to the minister to make arrangements as soon as possible to ensure that providing properly adapted buses is one of the criteria for obtaining a public bus transport concession. The ombudsman also recommended that the infrastructure ministry provide a legal basis and financial resources to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities to equal access in public road transport are upheld effectively and tangibly.