Ombudsman receives representatives of Serbian community

Ljubljana, 4 April - Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina received representatives of the Serbian diaspora on Tuesday to discuss their efforts to become a constitutionally recognised minority. He proposed that the state adopt a strategy that would deal with their collective rights.

The president and vice-president of the Union of the Serbian National Council in Slovenia, Branislav Rajić and Miloš Konjević, presented efforts that they said would bring Slovenia into line with recommendations by the Council of Europe's advisory committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the ombudsman's office said.

The advisory committee has proposed that Slovenia strengthen the legal protection of national minorities, consider giving them access to constitutionally guaranteed minority rights, and expand the full use of the Framework Conventions to persons belonging to these minorities.

Svetina talked about his institution's efforts concerning both the constitutionally recognised minorities - Italians, Hungarians and the Roma - and minorities not mentioned by the Constitution, including repeated appeals by the ombudsman's office to launch a debate on how minorities that are numerous yet not mentioned in the Constitution could assert their collective rights.

He proposed the adoption of a national strategy, but noted that previous debates have shown that this issue is inextricably linked with debates about changes to the Constitution, which is in the purview of the National Assembly.

© STA, 2023