United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Committee against Torture express concern about Roma Rights in Slovenia
3 October 2000
On August 10, 2000, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) adopted recommendations on the report submitted by the Slovene government. The committee expressed concern that certain minority groups, including the Roma, do not enjoy the same level of protection from the government as the Italian and Hungarian minorities. The report recommended that Slovenia "ensure that persons or groups of persons belonging to other minorities were not discriminated against; that all appropriate measures be taken to inform the general public about existing judicial remedies for victims of racism and xenophobia in order to encourage them to use such remedies; and that Slovenia strengthen its human rights sensitization and training programmes, especially with regard to law enforcement and military personnel."
In a submission to CERD, the Helsinki Monitor of Slovenia (HMS) denounced Slovenian government policy with regard to the so-called non-autochthonous Roma (Roma from other ex-Yugoslav republics who settled in Slovenia prior to the secession of Slovenia from the former Yugoslavia). According to the HMS, in 1992, the Ministry of the Interior of Slovenia illegally removed permanent residents of non-Slovene ethnic origin, including non-autochthonous Roma, from the permanent residence registrars. An unidentified number of Roma were consequently made administratively non-existent in Slovenia. Along with denial of civil and political rights, according to the HMS these Roma are exposed to human rights abuses such as police violence, forced evictions, denial of pre-school and primary school education, and denial of social benefits and humanitarian assistance. The HMS noted that for the past nine years, the Slovene government has failed to enact a special law regulating the position and rights of the Romani people, as is stipulated by Article 65 of the Slovene Constitution of 1991, which states that "the status and special rights of Gypsy communities living in Slovenia shall be such as are determined by statute."
At its 24th session on May 12, 2000, the Committee against Torture (CAT) reviewed Slovenia's initial report on its efforts to implement the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Committee expressed concerns about police brutality and treatment of minorities and asylum seekers, including allegations of police ill-treatment and excessive use of force by police against members of the Romani population, reportedly resulting in severe injuries in some instances. Ms Felice Gaer, the Committee expert serving as co-rapporteur to the report of Slovenia, said that the HMS had reported malt reatment of Roma, citing the case of Mr Danko Brajdić, a Romani man who was beaten by the police and admitted to the hospital with severe injuries. Also highlighted was the case of Mr Sadik Kemalj, a Romani man and former citizen of Slovenia who reportedl y left the country without a passport, and when returning with a Macedonian passport was beaten by the police at the border. The Committee also expressed concern regarding allegations about the excessive use of force by the police in connection with arrests and about the sub-standard conditions in which asylum-seekers were housed in Slovenia. The Committee recommended that Slovenia take necessary steps to prevent the misuse of force by police against members of the Romani population and other minorities, particularly in connection with arrests and detention.
(Helsinki Monitor of Slovenia, United Nations)