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TITLE:  SLOVENIA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE:  FEBRUARY 1995









                            SLOVENIA


Slovenia is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional 
republic which declared its independence from the Socialist 
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991.  The President serves 
as 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 
elections.

The Ministry of the Interior supervises the police.  The 
security services report to the Prime Minister.  There were no 
reports of human rights abuses committed by police or security 
services.  The armed forces do not exercise civil police 
functions.

Since independence, the economy has made steady progress in 
developing a market economy.  Most housing and 20 percent of 
state-owned firms have been privatized.  Trade has been 
reoriented to Western markets, with less than 25 percent still 
going east.  The gross domestic product increased for the 
second year since 1990.  Manufacturing and mining employ 46 
percent of the labor force, and agriculture 2 percent.  Major 
exports include machinery, transport equipment, and other 
manufactured products.

There were no major human rights problems in 1994.  The 
Constitution and actual practice accord protected status to the 
small Italian and Hungarian communities, as well as to the 
Roma.  The President named a national ombudsman in 1994, with 
the specific mandate of monitoring human rights.  The 
ombudsman, recently appointed, so far has not played a 
particularly active role.  A vigorous, but at times not fully 
responsible, free press and an independent judiciary serve to 
some extent as human rights "watchdogs."  The legacy of the 
Communist past, however, makes this a new and unfamiliar role 
for the press.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports of such killings.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of disappearances.

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

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

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

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

The authorities may hold a detainee with cause for a maximum of 
3 months, and the Supreme Court may extend detention for 
another 3 months.  In practice, the authorities fully respect 
these rights and limitations.

In a highly publicized as well as politicized event in March, 
the Defense Minister was forced from office after active 
members of a military unit pulled a former Defense Ministry 
civilian employee from his car and beat him.  The individual 
was suspected of illegally holding classified documents.  The 
circumstance and legality under Slovene law of his arrest in a 
nonmilitary place and his subsequent treatment at the hands of 
the soldiers have not been fully explained, but the actions of 
the military unit appeared arbitrarily to contravene civil 
authority.

There is no exile.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Constitution provides that a defendant's rights include 
equality before the law, the 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.

The judicial system comprises local and district courts, with 
the Supreme Court as the highest court.  Judges, elected by the 
State Assembly (parliament) on the nomination of the Judicial 
Council, are constitutionally independent and serve 
indefinitely, subject to an age limit.  The Judicial Council 
has six sitting judges elected by their peers and five 
presidential nominees elected by the State Assembly.  The 
nine-member Constitutional Court rules on the constitutionality 
of legislation.

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

The Constitution provides protection for privacy and the 
inviolability of the home, mail, and other means of 
communication.  These rights and protections are usually 
respected in practice.  However, in March parts of a university 
professor's private correspondence, critical of a minister in 
the Government, were read out in a broadcast on a 
government-controlled television station.  The issue is now in 
the courts.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and press.  The 
press is a vigorous and at times free-swinging institution, 
spanning the political spectrum.  Although Slovenia is 
ethnically very homogeneous, there is an Italian-language radio 
and television station as well as a newspaper serving the 
Italian minority on the Adriatic coast.  The volume of 
programming in the Italian language has been an issue.  Some in 
the Italian community, particularly in the television station, 
have complained that Italian-language programming has been 
reduced.  Hungarian radio programming is common in northeast 
Slovenia.  Bosnian refugees and the Albanian community publish 
newsletters in their own languages.

Slovenia has five major dailies and several weekly newspapers.  
There are three television channels, one of them independent of 
government control.  All the major towns have radio stations.  
Two of the newspapers and one television station are privately 
owned.  The major print media are supported through private 
investment and advertising, although some of the electronic 
media enjoy indirect government subsidies.  Foreign newspapers, 
magazines, and journals are available in the larger towns.

After 40 years of authoritarian one-party rule, self-censorship 
in the media is a way of life for journalists brought up and 
supported by the Communist regime.  Long accustomed to getting 
articles published under the old system, these journalists have 
been cautious about expressing criticism.  Print and broadcast 
journalists who have taken up the profession more recently, 
however, are less inclined to engage in self-censorship.

The election law requires the media to offer free space and 
time to political parties at election time.

Universities and other institutions of higher education are 
constitutionally autonomous, and academic freedom is 
respected.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for the right of peaceful assembly 
and association, and the Government respects these rights.  By 
law, the Government may restrict these rights, but only in 
circumstances involving national security, public safety, or 
protection against infectious diseases.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The Constitution explicitly provides for the unfettered 
profession of religious and other beliefs in private and in 
public, and the Government respects this provision.  Clergy, 
churches, missionaries, including some from abroad, and 
religious centers of all faiths operate without hindrance.  
Some parents, relying on the constitutional provision of a 
"right...to educate and guide their children" have, with the 
backing of the Roman Catholic Church, argued for some form of 
religious education in public schools.

     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 his or her place of residence, 
to leave the country, and to return as desired.  The Government 
respects these rights in practice.

The Constitution provides for the right of political asylum for 
foreigners and stateless persons "who are persecuted for their 
stand on human rights and fundamental freedoms."

Slovenia since 1991 has taken in refugees from the fighting in 
Croatia and especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has dealt 
with them humanely and expeditiously.  There are some 35,000 
registered refugees.  The number of refugees reported by the 
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees decreased significantly in 
1994 after an official registration drive.  Some refugees have 
blended into the local population, and others have resettled 
out of Slovenia.

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

Citizens have the right to change their government.  They last 
participated in free and fair parliamentary elections in 1992 
when 10 political parties competed.  They elected a 90-member 
State Assembly (legislature) for a 4-year term as well as a 
40-member National Council, an organization representing 
social, economic, trade and professional, and local interests.

The Constitution provides that the Italian and Hungarian ethnic 
communities, regardless of their total population, are each 
entitled to at least one representative in the State Assembly.

There are no restrictions on women or minorities voting or 
participating in politics; the Prime Minister's office has a 
watchdog agency for monitoring and promoting participation by 
women in public life.  There are 12 women in the Parliament.  
The Cabinet has two female Ministers, those of Justice and 
Labor.

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

The independent Council of Human Rights and Fundamental 
Freedoms, founded in 1990, investigates complaints about 
violations of human rights and governmental responsibility 
without official interference.  The Government places no 
obstacles in the way of investigations by local or 
international human rights groups.

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

The Constitution, buttressed by actual practice, guarantees 
equality before the law.

Slovenia has a population (excluding refugees) of approximately 
2 million, 91 percent of whom are Slovenes, 3 percent Croats, 2 
percent Serbs, and 1 percent Muslims.  Of the remainder, some 
8,500 are ethnic Hungarians, and 3,100 are ethnic Italians.

The Constitution guarantees special rights to the 
"autochthonous Italian and Hungarian ethnic communities," such 
as the right to use their own national symbols, establish 
organizations, enjoy bilingual education, and other 
privileges.  The small Roma communities also have special 
status and rights, which are observed in practice.

     Women

The Government does not discriminate against women in the 
provision of housing, jobs, education, or other services.  The 
Constitution stipulates that marriage is based on the equality 
of both spouses and that the State shall protect the family, 
motherhood, and fatherhood.

In practice, women, even those employed outside the home, bear 
a disproportionate share of household work and family care, 
resulting, particularly in rural areas, from a generally 
conservative social tradition.  Slovenia generally provides 
equal pay for equal work for men and women.  Emerging from an 
economic recession with unemployment rates close to 14 percent, 
both men and women have suffered from loss of work, and both 
have the same average period of unemployment.  Women, however, 
still are found more often in lower paying jobs.  At the same 
time, women are frequently encountered in business, academia, 
public life, and government.

It is difficult to determine with specificity the extent of 
violence against women in Slovenia.  In general, the level of 
personal crime and violence is relatively low.  The problem of 
spouse abuse and violence against women exists, and police are 
not reluctant to intervene in such cases.  Crimes of abuse of 
women are dealt with in accordance with the Penal Code.  There 
is no special legislation on crimes against women.

     Children

The Constitution stipulates that children enjoy human rights 
and fundamental freedoms consistent with their age and level of 
maturity and are assured special protection from exploitation 
and maltreatment.  Child abuse is rare, and the authorities 
take action against perpetrators.

     People with Disabilities

Slovenia has taken steps to provide social and economic 
opportunities for the disabled.  The law mandates access to 
public facilities for the disabled, and, in practice, 
modifications of public and private facilities and structures 
continue slowly but steadily.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

All workers, except for the police and military, may form and 
join labor organizations of their own choosing.  The 
Constitution provides that trade unions, their operations, and 
their membership shall be free.

Slovenia now has two main labor groupings, with constituent 
branches throughout the country, as well as a third, much 
smaller, regional labor union 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.

The Constitution provides for the right to strike, but in 1993 
Parliament for the first time passed legislation restricting 
strikes by some public sector employees.  A number of strikes 
occurred in 1994, largely over wages and working conditions.

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

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Slovenia's economy is in transition from the command economy of 
the Communist system, which included some private ownership of 
enterprises along with state and "socially owned" enterprises.  
In the transition to a fully market-based economy, the 
collective bargaining process is undergoing change.  The 
Government still exercises a role in setting minimum wages and 
conditions, although private businesses, growing steadily in 
number, set pay scales directly with their employees' unions or 
employee representatives.  There are no reports of antiunion 
discrimination.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

There is no forced labor.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum age for employment is 16 years.  Children must 
remain in school until age 15.  Some farm communities employ 
younger children during the harvest or for other farm work.  In 
general, urban employers respect the age limits.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Slovenia has a minimum wage of $240 (gross wages) per month.  
The workweek is 40 hours, with a 24-hour rest period, 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 controlled by the Ministries of Health 
and Labor.


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[end of document]

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