Slovenia –“Further efforts to improve the human rights of Roma and 'erased' persons needed“

Strasbourg, 07/06/11  – “I welcome the positive measures aimed at improving the human rights of Roma and their access to housing, education and employment.” Today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, has released a letter to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, following a visit on 7-8 April 2011. He praises efforts made to promote the inclusion of Roma in society. The model of elected Roma councillors is an example of good practice which may be shared with other member states of the Council of Europe.

Despite this progress, the Commissioner points out that some serious problems remain and that he is very concerned about reports on the housing situation of some Roma communities in Slovenia. Urgent measures are needed at the local level in order to resolve the lack of access to running water, sanitation and electricity. “Co-operation and exchanges of good practices between different municipalities ought to be encouraged. Relevant actions and local authority policies should be closely monitored by the national authorities.”

The Commissioner commends a number of education projects, especially those implemented in co-operation with Roma associations, which will give tangible results in a longer perspective. But low rates of school attendance among Roma children in some parts of Slovenia remain a problem. “Effective measures are needed to decrease the drop-out rate of Roma pupils”.

The Commissioner also brings up the situation of the ‘erased’ persons. In 1992 the Slovenian government erased more than 25 000 citizens of the former Yugoslavia from the register of permanent residents, some of whom became stateless. An amended law from 2010 should enable the ‘erased’ persons to submit requests for the restoration of their former status. However, information indicates that only 120 ‘erased’ persons have so far submitted their requests, and of those, 32 were rejected. The Commissioner expresses his appreciation for the determination of the Slovenian government in finding a solution for the situation, but he adds: “I am concerned that this law does not fully remedy the negative impact that the 1992 ‘erasure’ has had on the enjoyment of human rights by the concerned persons.”

Read the letter to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia and the reply of the Prime Minister


Press contact in the Commissioner’s Office:
Anki Wood, +33 (0)6 611 47 835; anki.wood@coe.int 

Keep up to date with the Commissioner on Twitter