On the occasion of the 71st anniversary of the adoption of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Convention), Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina highlights the importance of the observance of human rights under the Convention, which is one of the most important international legal acts for the development of human rights law. "Although human rights protection is a fundamental value in modern society, the awareness increased during the pandemic that most human rights are not absolute. We commend the fact that these challenges were recognised by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which will re-examine the issue of the restriction of human rights or their temporary revocation during emergency situations. The Convention, which serves as the foundation for the protection of human rights in Europe, is a living instrument adjusting to time and circumstances, which is also reflected in the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)," believes Ombudsman Svetina.
For almost 30 years, the Convention has been part of the Slovenian legal order and has bound state authorities in their work. Violations or observance of rights under the Convention are often pointed out by the institution of the Human Rights Ombudsman. The Ombudsman thus particularly supports the new Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member states
on the publication and dissemination of the European Convention on Human Rights, the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and other relevant texts, which was adopted at the end of September 2021. Among other things, the Recommendation proposes that member states translate into their official languages relevant ECHR judgments against other countries or at least their key sections. "We find that the authorities translate only judgments against Slovenia in an exemplary manner, but not the important judgments against other countries. I call on the responsible authorities to provide translations of important ECHR case law into Slovenian, as these will also be of benefit to state authorities in their work. They should further ensure that action reports and plans on the enforcement of judgments by Slovenia are also accessible in Slovenian so that people will be able to learn how the established violations were eliminated," stresses Svetina.
The Human Rights Ombudsman regularly forwards recommendations to state authorities regarding the elimination of established violations. In recent years, the number of ECHR judgments against Slovenia has reduced; however, the Ombudsman believes that the standard of respect for human rights must be improved in numerous fields. "With a more consistent implementation of our recommendations and decisions of the Constitutional Court, a higher level of human rights protection in the country could benefit every person, irrespective of their social status," asserts Ombudsman Svetina. Although, the Convention defines for the most part only the first generation of human rights, i.e. civil and political, the Ombudsman emphasises a greater need for the observance of other generations of human rights as well. He particularly highlights the importance of social, economic and cultural rights, environmental rights, rights of minorities and digital rights.
Within the Council of Europe, the Human Rights Ombudsman has also been actively pursuing the highest possible standards of compliance with the Convention because, as the representative of the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI), this institution has been participating in the Drafting Group on enhancing the national implementation of the system of the European Convention on Human Rights (DH-SYSC-V) and the Working Group on the EU accession to the Convention.