MINELRES: NGOs Welcome UN Observations on Human Rights in Slovenia

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sat Sep 10 13:21:29 2005


Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>


European Roma Rights Centre and Amnesty International Slovenia Urge
Slovene Government to Act on Key Concerns Identified by the Human Rights
Committee

Budapest, Ljubljana, 6 September 2005. The European Roma Rights Centre 
(ERRC) and Amnesty International Slovenia (AIS) today jointly welcomed
the Concluding Observations of the UN Human Rights Committee on
Slovenia’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, one of the central elements of international human
rights law.

“Amnesty International Slovenia remains deeply concerned especially 
regarding the ‘erased’ permanent residents of Slovenia, who were
legally residing in Slovenia as citizens of ex-Yugoslavia, and many of
whom have after the unlawful ‘erasure’ still not yet been able to
regularize their status,” stated General Secretary of Amnesty
International Slovenia Natasa Posel. “We urge the government to devote
its attention to the issue of ‘erased’ immediately and to explicitly and
publicly recognize the discriminatory nature of the removal from the
population registry of the individuals concerned and to ensure that
their status of permanent residents is retroactively restored.”

“The Committee’s findings bring much-needed light on a number of
unresolved issues in Slovenia, particularly as they relate to Roma,”
said ERRC Programmes Director Claude Cahn. “The government has not yet
managed to tackle very high levels of racial antipathy in Slovenia. This
results in a number of systemic abuses, including the deprivation of
Slovene citizenship to Roma who should have access to it, arbitrary
expulsion from the country, racially segregated schooling arrangements,
and a number of extremely substandard slum settlements.”

The UN Human Rights Committee convened in July to review Slovenia’s
second periodic report on measures to implement the Covenant.

The Committee praised progress achieved by Slovene officials in the
field of reforms since its independence in June 1991, notably the
adoption of a democratic Constitution in December 1991 and its recent
amendments to enhance protection of human rights and fundamental
freedoms. The Committee also welcomed the fact that the provisions of
the Covenant are directly enforceable as part of the domestic legal
order and that they have been directly enforced by the Supreme and the
Constitutional Courts, and praised several other advances in the area of
law and institutional development undertaken by the Slovene government
since it last reported to the Committee.

The Committee was however concerned about a number of issues in
Slovenia, and brought recommendations in these areas. Key matters of
concern included domestic violence, human trafficking, the participation
of women in public affairs, violence by law enforcement officials, the
deprivation of Slovene citizenship or other durable legal residence
status to persons who should otherwise have access to that status, an
excessive backlog in the courts, the proliferation - facilitated by some
media organs - of public expressions of hatred against certain groups, a
number of areas with respect to the treatment of Roma, as well as other
issues.

With respect to issues on which Amnesty International Slovenia and/or
the European Roma Rights Centre have undertaken documentation work, the
Committee took the following positions:

* On “the high rate of domestic violence” in Slovenia, the Committee
“regrets the lack of specific legal provisions and governmental
programmes to prevent, combat and eliminate domestic violence” and urged
that “the State party … adopt and implement appropriate laws and
policies to prevent and effectively combat violence against women,
especially domestic violence, and programmes to assist the victims.  In
order to raise public awareness, itshould initiate the necessary media
campaigns and educational programmes.”

* The Committee expressed concern “about reported cases of ill-treatment
by law enforcement officials and the lack of thorough investigations and
adequate punishment of the responsible officials and non-payment of
compensation to the victims. The Committee is also concerned that legal
assistance may not be available from the beginning of detention for
those who do not have the means to pay for it”. On these matters, the
Committee recommended that the Slovene government “take appropriate
measures to prevent and punish all forms of ill-treatment by law
enforcement officials to ensure the provision of legal assistance to all
from the beginning of detention and prompt, thorough, independent and
impartial investigation into all allegations of violations of human
rights.  It should prosecute perpetrators of such acts and ensure that
they are punished in a manner proportionate to the seriousness of the
offences committed by them, and grant effective remedies, including
compensation, to the victims.”

* On the issue of arbitrary deprivation of durable status in Slovenia to
persons who should otherwise have access to it by dint of acknowledging
their real and effective ties to Slovenia, an issue of particular
concern to a number of categories of persons including Roma in Slovenia,
the Committee stated, “the Committee remains concerned about
thesituation of those persons who have not yet been able to regularize
their situation in the Stateparty” and recommended that “the State party
should seek to resolve the legal status of all the citizens of the
successor States that formed part of the former Socialist Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia who are presently living in Slovenia, and should
facilitate the acquisition of Slovenian citizenship by all such persons
who wish to become citizens of the Republic of Slovenia.”

* The Committee expressed concern “at the reported neglect of
unaccompanied minors seeking asylum or illegally residing in the
territory of the State party.  The Committee, while recognizing that
registration is distinct from conferral of nationality, is also
concerned that some children are registered at birth without a
nationality”. In this vein, the Committee recommended that “the State
party should develop specific procedures to address the needs of
unaccompanied children and to ensure their best interests in the course
of any immigration and related proceedings.  The State party should also
ensure the right of every child to acquire a nationality.”

With respect particularly to Roma in Slovenia, the Committee addressed
the following specific areas of concern:

* “The Committee is concerned about the difference in the status between
the so-called ‘autochthonous’ (indigenous) and ‘nonautochthonous’ (new)
Roma communities in the Stateparty … The State party should consider 
eliminating discrimination on the basis of status within the Roma
minority and provide to the whole Roma community a status free of
discrimination, and improve its living conditions and enhance its
participation in public life.”

“While noting measures undertaken to improve the living conditions of
the Roma community, the Committee is concerned that the Roma community
continues to suffer prejudice and discrimination, in particular with
regard to access to health services, education and employment, which has
a negative impact on the full enjoyment of their rights under the
Covenant… The State party should take all necessary measures to ensure
the practical 
enjoyment by the Roma of their rights under the Covenant by implementing
and reinforcing effective measures to prevent and address discrimination
and the serious social and economic situation of the Roma.”

AIS and ERRC urge Slovene authorities to implement the Human Rights
Committee's recommendations in full.

The full text of the Human Rights Committee’s Concluding Observations on
Slovenia is available at: 
http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/CCPR.CO.84.SVN.En?OpenDocument



Amnesty International is independent and impartial from any government, 
political parties, economic interest, ideologies and religions. It is a 
world movement of individuals, seeking to protect and promote human
rights around the world.

Amnesty International Slovenije
Beethovnova 7
1000 Ljubljana
Slovenia
Tel: (386 1) 426 93 77
Fax: (386 1) 426 93 65
E-mail adress:
Office: amnesty@amnesty.si

_____________________________________________

The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) is an international public
interest law organization engaging in a range of activities aimed at
combating anti-Romani racism and human rights abuse of Roma, in
particular strategic litigation, international advocacy, research and
policy development, and training of Romani activists. For more
information about the European Roma 
Rights Centre, visit the ERRC website at http://www.errc.org.

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Hungary
Tel.: ++ (36 1) 413 2200
Fax: ++ (36 1) 413 2201
E-mail:
office@errc.org

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