Before the 1991 formation of the official state of Slovenia, a country in central Europe, shifting boarders, names, Habsburg and communist rule pervaded the landscape. At the time of its independence, the country welcomed a multiparty democratic political system and experienced an economic prosperity that attracted hundreds of thousands of migrants to the region. Slovenia is now a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union. In such a young country, human rights are still developing. Below are five facts about human rights in Slovenia:
- In 2017 alone, Slovenia committed to accepting 567 asylum-seekers, 124 of whom were from Greece and Italy.
- The National Assembly in Slovenia passed the Protection against Discrimination Act in April 2017. In coordination with EU anti-discrimination law, the Act combats discrimination against gender identity and expression, social status and health. The Act also reinforced the Advocate of the Principle of Equality, which is an independent anti-discrimination body for hearing cases and offering assistance to victims of discrimination.
- Slovenia recently amended its constitution to include the right to drinking water. Water must be used as a source of drinking water for Slovenes before being used for any other purpose. Water resources are a public good, not a tradable commodity.
- Some groups have less access to human rights in Slovenia than others. Discrimination against Roma is an ongoing issue in Slovenia. Many Roma live in inadequate, segregated housing settlements without access to water, sanitation, electricity or public transportation.
- Slovenia has the highest recorded number of human rights violations per capita of any European country. The country has a record of 148 human rights violations per million people. Slovenia lost 94 percent of its cases in the European Court of Human Rights. Most of the violations concern the right to trial within a reasonable time and the right to effective legal remedy.
Human rights in Slovenia still require much development, as it is a relatively young country. Fortunately, Slovenia’s short history allows for the easier reformation of social and political systems.
– Sophie Nunnally