Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Presents Report on Slovenia

13 November 2006

On 29 March 2006, then Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr Alvaro Gil- Robles, presented a report to the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly on his official visit to Slovenia in May 2005. The report provided an analysis of actions undertaken by the Slovenian government following an initial report issued by the Commissioner for Human Rights in 2002 in which Slovenian authorities were urged to "take measures to ensure the effective implementation of the national programmes for the improvement of the situation of Roma at a local level, and to ensure that all Roma children have access to education on a par with other children. In his report, the Commissioner noted the following developments:

"17. In June 2004, a new Strategy of Education of Roma in the Republic of Slovenia ('the Strategy') was adopted. [...]

18. Since the 2003/2004 school year, the creation of separate classes for Romani children has not been permitted. [...] However, during the time of the visit, segregation still continued in some form in at least two schools. The authorities themselves acknowledged that full integration had not yet been achieved and cited the situation at the elementary school of Brsljin in Novo Mesto as an example of a failed attempt to integrate Roma children due to the lack of adequate preparation. [...]

26. Despite [...] efforts, the Roma in Slovenia continue to face discrimination and exclusion and serious problems remain in the field of employment and housing, in addition to the educational difficulties already examined.

27. The housing conditions of many of the Roma continue to be unsatisfactory with many Roma living in isolated, often illegal settlements, far away from services and other communities, as the members of the Commissioner's Office were able to observe when visiting Novo Mesto. The unemployment rates in many Roma settlements are well above 90 %. This can be partially explained by the fact that many Roma lack sufficient level of education and skills required, but it is also due to discrimination of Roma in the society in general. The legal and practical obstacles resulting from lack of citizenship prevent some Roma from accessing employment or social services.

28. During the visit, the representatives of the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs provided information about measures taken to address some of the underlying problems causing unemployment. An Action Programme for employment of Roma 2003-2006 has been adopted [...]. A group of 25 young Roma, all of whom have completed their secondary education, has been trained and employed as Roma tutors/ mentors. A new National Action Programme for Employment and Social Inclusion of Roma will be drawn up during the course of 2006.

29. The authorities drew the attention of the Office of the Commissioner to the National Action Plan on Social Inclusion for 2004-2006 (NAP) [...]. In this framework, a National Action Programme for Employment and Social Inclusion of Roma is being drawn up."

In line with the noted developments, the Commissioner welcomed the adoption of the Strategy of Education of Roma in the Republic of Slovenia, but noted that "[i]t is regrettable, however, that the new measures have not yet been fully implemented in all the schools. The new Strategy, at present only a concept paper, should be developed into an operational Action Plan as soon as possible with sufficient resources to ensure its effective implementation. The Commissioner also concluded:

"24. Regarding the model implemented in Brsljin elementary school, the Commissioner's view is that the separation of Roma children from the others in important subjects does not fulfil the criteria of full integration. [...] It is of concern that the model currently implemented in Brsljin represents a step back from the already achieved levels of integration and falls short of the impressive ambitions contained in the national strategy.

25. The Commissioner recommends that the authorities revise the implementation model adopted in Brsljin and ensure full integration of Roma children in the normal classroom for all the subjects. [...].

32. The Commissioner regrets that only piece-meal progress appears to have been made in addressing the housing difficulties faced by many Roma. Information on concrete projects, or results so far, do not seem to be available. [...] The Commissioner urges the Slovenian authorities to pay particular attention to the local level implementation of the strategy of the Housing Fund of the Republic of Slovenia and to ensure that housing improvement programmes are adequately resourced. [...]."

The full text of the report can be found HERE.


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