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Title:  Slovenia Human Rights Practices, 1995   
Author:  U.S. Department of State    
Date:  March 1996    
 
 
 
 
                               SLOVENIA 
 
 
Slovenia is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional republic which 
declared its independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of 
Yugoslavia in 1991.  Power is shared between a directly elected 
President, a Prime Minister, and a bicameral legislature.  Three free 
and fair elections since independence and a lively multiparty political 
process reflect real progress toward an open and established democratic 
system.  The Government respects the constitutional provisions for an 
independent judiciary in practice.   
 
The police are under the effective civilian control of the Ministry of 
the Interior.  By law, the armed forces do not exercise civil police 
functions. 
 
The country has made steady progress toward developing a market economy.  
Privatization of the old Socialist economy continues, and trade has been 
reoriented to the West.  Manufacturing accounts for most employment; 
machinery and other manufactured products are the major exports.  
Unemployment remains a concern, but inflation has declined markedly, and 
real growth has reached 5 percent.  The currency is stable, fully 
convertible, and backed by substantial reserves.  The economy provides 
citizens with a modest standard of living.  
 
The Government fully respected the human rights of its citizens, and the 
law and judiciary provide effective means of dealing with instances of 
individual abuse.  Slovenia's small minority communities (under 8 
percent of population) enjoy constitutionally protected status and are 
dealt with fairly in practice. 
 
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 
 
Section 1   Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
from: 
 
   a.   Political and Other Extrajudical Killing 
 
There were no reports of political or other extrajudicial killings. 
 
   b.   Disappearance 
 
There were no reports of politically motivated 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,"  and there were no reports of 
such treatment of detainees or prisoners.   
 
Prison conditions meet minimum international standards and were not the 
subject of complaint by any human rights organization. 
 
   d.   Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 
 
The Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest, deprivation of liberty, and 
the use of exile.  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 Constitution also spells out the rights of detainees and limits on 
the Government's power to hold them (3 months maximum, with right of 
appeal).  These rights and limitations are fully respected in practice. 
 
   e.   Denial of Fair Public Trial 
 
The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and the 
Government respects this provision in practice.   
 
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 is composed of 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. 
 
The Constitution in great detail provides for the right to a fair trial, 
including provisions for:  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 were no reports of political prisoners.  
 
   f.   Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 
 
The Constitution provides protection for privacy, "personal data 
rights," and the inviolability of the home, mail, and other means of 
communication.  These rights and protections are respected in practice. 
 
Section 2   Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 
 
   a.   Freedom of Speech and Press 
 
The Constitution provides for freedom of thought, speech, public 
association, the press, and other forms of public communication and 
expression.  Lingering self-censorship and some indirect political 
pressures continue to influence the media.  
 
The press is now a vigorous institution growing out of its more 
restricted past.  The media span the political spectrum from left to 
right.  Because Slovenia is ethnically homogeneous, the major media do 
not represent a broad range of ethnic interests, although there is an 
Italian-language television channel as well as a newspaper available to 
the ethnic Italian minority who live on the Adriatic Coast.  Hungarian 
radio programming is common in the northeast where there are about 
10,000 ethnic Hungarians.  Bosnian refugees and the Albanian community 
have newsletters in their own languages.   
 
Slovenia has five major daily and several weekly newspapers.  The major 
print media are supported through private investment and advertising, 
although the national broadcaster, RTV Slovenia, enjoys government 
subsidies, as do cultural publications and book publishing. There are 
five television channels, two of them independent private stations.  
Numerous foreign broadcasts are available via satellite and cable.  All 
the major towns have radio stations and cable television.  Numerous 
business and academic journals and publications are available.  Foreign 
newspapers, magazines, and journals are available in the larger towns. 
 
For over 40 years Slovenia was ruled by an authoritarian Communist 
political system.  In theory and practice, the media enjoy full freedom 
in their journalistic pursuits. However, reporting about domestic 
politics may be influenced to some degree by self-censorship and 
indirect political pressures. 
 
The election law requires the media to offer free space and time to 
political parties at election time. 
 
The Constitution provides for autonomy and freedom for universities and 
other institutions of higher education.  Slovenia has two universities, 
each with numerous affiliated research and study institutions.  Academic 
freedom is respected, and centers of higher education are lively and 
intellectually stimulating.   
 
   b.   Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 
 
The Constitution provides for the rights of peaceful assembly, 
association, and participation in public meetings, and the Government 
respects these rights in practice.  These rights can be restricted only 
in circumstances involving national security, public safety, or 
protection against infectious diseases, and then only by act of the 
National Assembly. 
 
 
   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 these rights in practice.  No person can be compelled to admit 
his religious or other beliefs.  There is no state religion.  About 70 
percent of the population adheres to the Roman Catholic faith, and 2.5 
percent to the Orthodox.  There are also Protestant congregations, 
especially in the eastern part of the country.  Clergy, missionaries--
some from abroad--churches, and religious groups operate without 
hindrance. 
 
The appropriate role for religious instruction in the schools continues 
to be an issue of debate.  The Constitution states that parents are 
entitled "to give their children a moral and religious upbringing...."  
Before 1945 religion was much more prominent in the schools, but now 
only those schools supported by religious bodies teach religion. 
 
   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 
freely, and to return.  Limitations on these rights may only be made by 
statute and only where necessary in criminal cases, to control 
infectious disease, or in wartime.  In practice, citizens travel widely 
and often. 
 
The Constitution provides for a right of political asylum for foreigners 
and stateless persons "who are persecuted for their stand on human 
rights and fundamental freedoms." 
 
Since 1991 Slovenia has taken in refugees from the fighting in Croatia 
and especially Bosnia-Herzegovina, and has dealt with them humanely.  
The Government affords good protection to refugees; there are some 
24,000 in the country, about 20,000 of them registered. 
 
Section 3   Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens to 
Change their Government 
 
Citizens have the right to change their government, voting by secure 
ballot on the basis of universal suffrage.  In 1992 national elections--
with 10 parties competing for national office--brought to power a 
coalition government.  The elections were conducted peacefully, without 
allegations of fraud.  Slovenia has a mixed parliamentary and 
presidential system.  The President proposes a candidate to the 
legislature for confirmation as Prime Minister, after consultations with 
the leaders of the political parties in the National Assembly. 
 
The Constitution stipulates that the Italian and Hungarian ethnic 
communities are each entitled to at least one representative in the 
Assembly, regardless of their population numbers. 
 
There are no restrictions on the participation of women or minorities in 
politics; the Prime Minister's office has an active watchdog agency for 
monitoring and promoting participation by women in public life.  
Thirteen of 90 Members of Parliament are women, as are 2 cabinet 
ministers.  
 
Section 4   Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights 
 
Independent human rights monitoring groups promote respect for human 
rights and freedoms and freely investigate complaints about violations 
of human rights.  The Government places no obstacles in the way of 
investigations by international or local human rights groups.  The 
United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) in 1994 deleted Slovenia 
from the group of Yugoslav successor states monitored by the UNHRC for 
human rights abuses. 
 
Section 5   Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, 
Language, or Social Status 
 
The Constitution provides for equality before the law, and that is 
observed in practice.  Slovenia's population (excluding refugees) is 
approximately 2 million, of which 1,727,018 are Slovenes and the 
remainder persons of 23 other nationalities.  There are 54,212 Croats, 
47,911 Serbs, 26,842 Muslims, 8,503 Hungarians, and 3,064 Italians. 
 
The Constitution provides special rights for the "autochthonous Italian 
and Hungarian ethnic communities", including the right to use their own 
national symbols, enjoy bilingual education, and other privileges.  It 
also provides that the small Romani communities shall have special 
status and rights, which are observed in practice. 
 
   Women 
 
In general, the level of personal crime and violence is relatively low.  
The problem of spousal abuse and violence against women exists, and 
police are not reluctant to intervene in such cases.  Crimes of abuse 
against women are dealt with in accordance with the Penal Code.  There 
is no special legislation on crimes against women. 
 
Equal rights for women are a matter of state policy.  There is no 
official discrimination against women or minorities in housing, jobs, 
education, or other walks of life.  Marriage, under the Constitution, is 
based on the equality of both spouses.  The Constitution stipulates that 
the State shall protect the family, motherhood, and fatherhood. 
 
In rural areas, women, even those employed outside the home, bear a 
disproportionate share of household work and family care because of a 
generally conservative social tradition.  However, women are frequently 
encountered in business and in government executive departments. 
 
Equal pay for equal work for men and women is the norm.  Slovenia has 
gradually but steadily increased employment, although the unemployment 
rate is 13 percent.  In such conditions, men and women both suffer from 
the loss of work.  Both sexes have the same average period of 
unemployment.  Women, however, still are found more often in lower 
paying jobs. 
 
   Children 
 
The Constitution stipulates that children "enjoy human rights and 
fundamental freedoms consistent with their age and level of maturity."  
Moreover, they are guaranteed special protection from exploitation and 
maltreatment. 
 
The Government demonstrates its commitment to children's welfare through 
its system of public education and health care.  There is no pattern of 
societal abuse against children. 
 
   People with Disabilities 
 
The disabled are not discriminated against, and the Government has taken 
steps to facilitate access to social and economic opportunities.  In 
practice, modifications of public and private structures to ease access 
by the handicapped continue slowly but steadily. 
 
Section 6   Worker Rights 
 
   a.   The Right of Association 
 
The Constitution stipulates that trade unions, their operation, and 
their membership shall be free, and provides for the right to strike.  
Virtually all workers, except for the police and military, are eligible 
to form and join labor organizations.  In 1993, however, the National 
Assembly for the first time passed legislation restricting strikes by 
some public sector employees.  The past year has seen some scattered 
labor unrest, especially in the large "TAM" metals conglomerate. 
 
Slovene labor has two main groupings, with constituent branches 
throughout the country.  A third, much smaller, regional labor union 
operates on the Adriatic coast.  Unions are formally and actually 
independent of Government and the political parties, but individual 
union members hold positions in the legislature.  The Constitution 
provides that the State shall be responsible for "the creation of 
opportunities for employment and for work". 
 
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 
former Communist system, which included some private ownership of 
enterprises along with state-controlled and "socially-owned" 
enterprises.  In the transition to a fully market-based economy, the 
collective bargaining process is undergoing change.  Formerly, the old 
Yugoslav Government had a dominant role in setting the minimum wage and 
conditions of work.  The Slovene Government still exercises this role, 
to an extent, 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. 
 
Export processing zones have been established in Koper, Maribor, and 
Nova Gorica.  Workers' rights are the same in these zones as in the rest 
of the country. 
 
   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.  During the harvest or for other farm work, younger 
children do work.  In general, urban employers respect the age limits.   
 
   e.   Acceptable Conditions of Work 
 
The minimum wage is $370 (Sit 46,250) per month, which provides a decent 
standard of living.  The workweek is 40 hours.  In general, businesses 
provide acceptable conditions of work for their employees.  Occupational 
health and safety standards are set and enforced by special commissions 
controlled by the Ministries of Health and Labor.  Workers have the 
right to remove themselves from unsafe conditions without jeopardizing 
their continued employment. 
 
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[end of document]

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