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TITLE:  SLOVENIA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                            
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

                       SLOVENIA


Slovenia is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional 
republic.  It declared its independence from the Socialist 
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on June 26, 1991.  A 10-day war 
ended with the withdrawal of the Yugoslav National Army units.  
The country has been free of strife since then.

The 1991 Constitution proclaims Slovenia a democratic republic 
"governed by the rule of law."  The President serves as the 
Head of State and commander in chief of the armed forces.  
Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek of the Liberal Democratic Party 
leads a coalition Government formed after free and fair 
multiparty elections held in December 1992.  

Slovenia is a functioning multiparty democracy with more than 
10 active political parties offering a wide variety of 
political and economic programs to the voters.  National 
elections for the presidency and legislature, in which over 
1,000 candidates competed, were held in December 1992. 

Police and security forces are under the control of the 
Ministry of the Interior, headed by a civilian official.  The 
armed forces of Slovenia do not exercise civil police functions.

Slovenia is in a slow but steady transition from a largely 
state-owned economy to one based on private ownership.  The 
Slovene currency is fully convertible internally and is judged 
stable.  It is linked to the German mark but is allowed to 
depreciate in accordance with internal price changes.  
Inflation, now running at 25 percent per annum and falling, has 
declined markedly since independence.  Unemployment, at year's 
end 15.3 percent, was a major source of concern.  The loss of 
most of the Slovenian market in the old Yugoslavia and the 
Europe-wide recession have put tremendous strains on both labor 
and management.

There were no major human rights problems in 1993.  The 
Constitution and actual practice accord protected status to  
the Italian and Hungarian communities, as well as to the 
Gypsies.  The media exploit their freedoms with caution, and 
the role of former Communists in public life is still at issue 
despite (or because of) their continuing participation in the 
Government.  


RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

No unlawful killings instigated by official organs or vigilante 
groups were known to have occurred.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of politically motivated or government-
instigated disappearances.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

The Constitution prohibits torture and inhuman treatment as 
well as "humiliating punishment or treatment."  There were no 
reports of such treatment of prisoners.  

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest or deprivation of 
liberty and requires that the detaining authority must advise 
the detainee in writing within 24 hours, in his own language, 
of the reasons for his arrest.  The law also provides 
safeguards against self-incrimination.  The detainee has the 
right to legal counsel of his choice and may appeal his 
detention, which the court must decide on within 48 hours.  

The detainee may be held with cause for a maximum of 3 months, 
and the Supreme Court may extend detention for another 3 
months.  In practice, these rights and limitations are fully 
respected.

There is no exile.  

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The court system comprises local and district courts, and the 
Supreme Court acts as the highest court in the country.  The 
Constitution states that judges are independent and fill their 
offices permanently, subject to an age limit.  They are elected 
by the State Assembly (parliament) on the nomination of the 
Judicial Council.  The Council is composed of 11 members, 5 of 
whom are elected by the State Assembly on the nomination of the 
President of the Republic, and the remaining 6 are sitting 
judges selected by their peers.

The nine-member Constitutional Court rules on the 
constitutionality of legislation and legal regulations and on 
jurisdictional disputes, and it also acts as a final court of 
appeal in cases requiring a constitutional interpretation.  
Members of the Constitutional Court, who are appointed for one 
9-year term, are nominated by the President and approved by the 
State Assembly.  

According to the Constitution, a defendant's rights include:  
equality before the law, presumption of innocence, due process, 
open court proceedings, guarantees of appeal, and a prohibition 
against double jeopardy.  These rights are respected in 
practice.  There are no political prisoners.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence

The Constitution provides protection for privacy, personal 
rights, the inviolability of the home, mail, and other means of 
communication and personal data.  In practice, these rights and 
protections are respected.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and press.  
There are five major dailies and numerous weekly newspapers.  
Most of the major print media are supported through private 
investment and advertising.  The media span the political 
spectrum from left to right.  

Although Slovenia is ethnically fairly homogeneous, there is a 
newspaper for the Italian minority living along the Adriatic 
coast and an Italian-language television channel.  Hungarian 
radio programming is common in the northeast region of 
Slovenia.  Bosnian refugees and the Albanian community publish 
newspapers or newsletters in their own languages.      

The Parliament has been debating a media law for the past 2 
years but has yet to pass one.  A council appointed by 
Parliament controls Radio-Television Slovenia, which regulates 
the country's television transmitters.  Radio-Television 
Slovenia broadcasts on two television channels and three radio 
stations.  In addition, one independent television station and 
more than 50 independent radio stations broadcast in Slovenia.  
Most of the media are politically independent, offering diverse 
opinions on a wide range of subjects.  Numerous private 
interest and academic journals and publications are available, 
as are foreign newspapers, magazines, and journals.

Newly emerging from over four decades of an authoritarian 
political system, Slovenia retains some of the legacies of such 
a regime, especially in self-censorship.  Some journalists, who 
were supported by the previous regime, continue to be loyal to 
their patrons from the Communist past, a few of whom still hold 
influential posts.  Accustomed to having their articles 
published under the old system, these journalists remain 
cautious about expressing criticism.  Members of the younger 
generation of print and broadcast journalists seem relatively 
unrestrained in their dealings with government officials and 
others in public life.  

The election law specifies that the media must offer free space 
and time to political parties for party use at election time.  
Some critics claim that this provision interferes with the 
commercial and editorial independence of the media.  The 
Constitution provides that universities and other institutions 
of higher education shall be autonomous and that scientific and 
artistic endeavor shall be free.  Academic freedom is 
rigorously respected.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution guarantees the right of peaceful assembly and 
participation in public meetings.  Permits for meetings are 
routinely granted.  Persons have the right to associate 
freely.  These rights may be restricted only in circumstances 
involving national security, public safety, or for protection 
against infectious diseases, and then only by act of the State 
Assembly.  Career military and police personnel are not allowed 
to be members of political parties.  

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The Constitution guarantees the unfettered profession of 
religious and other beliefs in private and in public.  No 
person may be compelled to admit his religious or other 
beliefs.  There is no state religion, although the appropriate 
role, if any, for religious instruction in the schools is still 
the subject of political debate.  Approximately 70 percent of 
the population adheres to the Roman Catholic faith, and 2.5 
percent to the Eastern Orthodox.  There are also Protestant 
congregations, especially in the eastern part of the country.   
Clergy, missionaries, churches, and religious centers in the 
country operate without hindrance.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The Constitution provides that each person has the right to 
freedom of movement, to choose a place of residence, to leave 
the country, and to return as desired.  Any limitations on 
these rights may only be made by statute and only when 
necessary in criminal cases, to control infectious disease, and 
in defense of the State.  In practice, Slovenes travel widely, 
freely, and often.  

The Constitution guarantees the right of political asylum for 
those foreign nationals and persons without citizenship "who 
are persecuted for their stand on human rights and fundamental 
freedoms."  Slovenia has taken in over 75,000 refugees, mainly 
Muslims, from Bosnia-Herzegovina, which represents 3.5 percent 
of Slovenia's population.  The refugees are accommodated in 
more than 40 centers where they receive aid and education in 
their language.  

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Slovene citizens have the right to change their government and 
have done so peacefully through two free and fair elections 
since independence.  As a result of national elections in 
December 1992--in which 10 parties competed--a four-party 
coalition, led by Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek of the Liberal 
Democratic Party, came to power.  

Slovenia has a mixed parliamentary and presidential system.  
The President serves as Head of State and commander in chief of 
the armed forces and has the power to call elections for the 
State Assembly and proclaim statutes.  He may not serve more 
than two consecutive 5-year terms.  The President nominates the 
Prime Minister who must be confirmed by the State Assembly.  
The 90-member State Assembly has a 4-year term of office.  The 
elected 40-member National Council in the legislature, 
representing social, economic, trade and professional, and 
local interests, serves somewhat as an upper house.  


There are no restrictions on women or minorities voting or 
participating in politics.  The Italian and Hungarian ethnic 
communities are each entitled to elect one representative to 
the Assembly, regardless of their numbers.  The Woman's Issues 
Office in the Prime Minister's office is very active in the 
promotion of women's rights.  

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Slovenia has a well-respected independent Council of Human 
Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, founded in 1990, which 
investigates complaints about violations of human rights and 
governmental responsibility.  The Government places no formal 
or practical obstacles in the way of visits or investigations 
by international or local human rights groups.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

     Women

Slovenia has made gender equality a matter of state policy.  In 
general, there is no official discrimination against women or 
minorities in housing, jobs, education, or other facets of the 
society.  The Constitution specifies that marriage is based on 
the equality of both spouses and that the State shall protect 
the family, motherhood, and fatherhood.  Women are well 
represented throughout Slovene public life, in business, in 
academia, and in government.  

In practice, women, even those employed, continue to bear a 
disproportionate share of household work and family care as a 
result, particularly in rural areas, of a generally 
conservative social tradition.  Slovenia generally provides 
equal pay for equal work for men and women.  In the current 
recession, both men and women may suffer from loss of work, and 
they endure the same average period of unemployment.  Women, 
however, still are found more often in lower paying jobs. 

It is difficult to determine with any specificity the extent of 
violence against women in Slovenia.  In general, the level of 
personal crime and violence is relatively low.  The problem of 
spousal abuse and violence against women exists and public 
discussion of this issue is common.  Police are not reluctant 
to intervene in such cases.  Crimes of abuse of women are 
treated according to the existing Penal Code.  There is no 
special legislation on crimes against women.

     Children

The Constitution provides that children enjoy human rights in 
accordance with their age and maturity and, in Article 56, are 
guaranteed special protection against economic, social, 
physical, or mental exploitation or abuse.  

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

At the last census, in 1991, Slovenia had a population of 
approximately 2 million--including 1,727,018 Slovenes and 
persons of 23 other nationalities.  There were 54,212 Croats, 
47,911 Serbs, 26,842 Muslims, 8,503 Hungarians, and 3,064 
Italians, as well as Albanians and Macedonians.  The 
Constitution provides special rights to the "autochthonous 
Italian and Hungarian ethnic communities," such as the right to 
elect a representative to the Assembly, use their own national 
symbols, establish organizations, enjoy bilingual education, 
and other privileges, and imposes a special obligation on the 
Republic to support financially and morally the implementation 
of those rights.  Article 65 of the Constitution also provides 
that the small Roma (Gypsy) communities, which have 
approximately 6,500 members, shall have special status and 
rights.  Some members of the Serbian- and German-speaking 
communities have complained that they are not specifically 
mentioned in the Constitution and granted "minority" status.  

     People with Disabilities

Slovenia has taken steps to provide access to social and 
economic opportunities for the disabled, for whom the 
Constitution guarantees security and training for work.  The 
law mandates access to public facilities for disabled persons.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The Constitution provides that the establishment and activity 
of trade unions, as well as the recruitment of their members, 
are unrestricted.  Virtually all workers, except for the police 
and members of the security forces, are eligible to form and 
join labor organizations of their own choosing.


Slovenian labor now has two nationwide labor groupings with 
constituent branches throughout the country.  A third, much 
smaller, regional labor union is active on the Adriatic coast.  
Unions are formally and actually independent of government and 
the political parties, but individual unionists may and do hold 
positions in the legislature.  For example, the head of the 
Neodvisnost Trade Union Federation was a presidential candidate 
of the Social Democratic Party of Slovenia.  The Constitution 
provides that the State shall be responsible for "the creation 
of opportunities for employment and for work."

Workers enjoy the right to strike, but in October the State 
Assembly for the first time passed legislation restricting 
strikes by some public sector employees.  A number of strikes 
occurred in 1993, largely over wages and working conditions.  
Independent farmers went on strike against the Government's 
liberal policy on cheap imported agricultural products.  They 
demanded, with little success, protectionist import taxes.

There are no restrictions on joining or forming federations and 
affiliating with like-minded international union organizations.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Slovenia's economy is in transition from the command economy of 
the pre-1991 Communist system to a fully market-based system, 
and the collective bargaining process is undergoing change.  
Under the old system, the Yugoslav government had a dominant 
role in setting the minimum wage and other conditions of work.  
Through negotiations with trade union federations, the 
Government still exercises an influential role in setting the 
minimum wage and other conditions for unprivatized 
enterprises.  Private businesses, growing steadily in number, 
set pay scales directly with their employees' unions or 
employee representatives.  Antiunion discrimination is 
prohibited by law.  

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

There is no forced labor in Slovenia; the legal prohibition of 
forced labor is effectively enforced.


     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum age for employment is 16 years.  Compulsory 
education is 8 years.  Some farm communities employ younger 
children during the harvest or for other farm work.  In 
general, urban employers respect these age limits, which are 
enforced by the Ministry of Labor.  

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The Government and trade union federations try to set adequate 
minimum wages through negotiations.  The minimum wage per 
month, mandated nationally, was approximately $200 (27,000 
tolars) as of year's end.  Such a wage base serves as a 
standard for both public and private firms.

The standard workweek is 40 hours.  There is a 24-hour rest 
period provided after 40 hours per week, as well as 12 hours' 
rest after each 8-hour period of work.

Occupational health and safety standards are set and enforced 
by special commissions (for example, sanitary and labor 
inspections).  The inspection bodies are controlled by the 
Ministries of Health and Labor respectively.  



[end of document]

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