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Death penalty

Slovenia is a staunch opponent of the death penalty and has been striving, for a number of years, for a complete ban throughout the world. Slovenia sees the death penalty as a cruel and inhumane form of punishment that infringes the right to life. In such cases, the failure or ineffectiveness of legal systems, which is unavoidably a drawback of each of them, can result in the loss of a human life. A complete ban would enhance human dignity and facilitate progressive development in the field of human rights. 10 October was established as the date of the annual World and European Day against the Death Penalty.  


The first and most groundbreaking resolution with a call to establish a  moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to abolishing the death penalty  was passed by the UN General Assembly at its 62nd session in 2007. Since then, resolutions on this issue are passed by the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council. The above issue is also high on the agenda of the Council of Europe. Slovenia supports all UN resolutions on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, which call for the establishment of a moratorium and complete abolition. It is important for countries to ratify or accede to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which aims to abolish the death penalty. Within the Council of Europe, Slovenia would like to underline the importance of Protocol No. 13 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances.


In 1998, the European Union adopted the Guidelines on the Death Penalty, which provide the basis for monitoring the situation by individual countries and responding to serious human rights violations. The Guidelines were updated during the Slovenian EU Council Presidency.


Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is discussed in international forums such as the UN, the EU or the Council of Europe. Slovenia will continue its efforts to keep the subject of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity on the agenda of these organisations. We should underline the importance of the principle of non-discrimination and the fact that, as regards LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) persons, the issue does not concern new rights granted to individuals on the basis of sexual orientation, but human rights which are universal and the same for all. Countries must take all necessary measures that comply with their international obligations to effectively eliminate discrimination in all its forms.


In 2013, the European Union adopted the Guidelines to Promote and Protect the Enjoyment of all Human Rights by LGBTI persons.


The international community designated 17 May the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. In 2008, the first cross-regional statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity was presented in the UN General Assembly. The cross-regional statement to stop violence and discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity  was presented in March 2011 by the UN Human Rights Council and under the auspices of the United States, Slovenia and Colombia. The first, historic resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, which was supported by Slovenia, was passed by the Human Rights Council in June 2011 and later in 2014. The resolution is not aimed at creating new rights for LGBTI persons, but at addressing violations of their human rights which have been guaranteed to every individual regardless of their sexual orientation or identity as universal human rights at the international level.


In July 2013, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and its partners launched a global campaign Free and Equal, which focuses on the need for legal reforms and public education in the fight against homophobia and transphobia. The project aims to raise awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, and promotes the respect for the rights of LGBTI people.

Human rights defenders

Civil society and human rights defenders play an important role in promoting human rights, the rule of law and the all-round development of societies. Due to the nature of their work, they often face pressure and even violence. Countries must provide an environment that allows human rights defenders and the wider society free action, including the rights of freedom of expression and association. Any retaliatory measures against individuals or organisations participating in UN mechanisms for human rights or aspiring to do so, including the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council, are unacceptable and contrary to international human rights law. A safe and enabling environment in which civil society can operate free from hindrance and insecurity, particularly as regards human rights, is essential for a democratic state; therefore, Slovenia fully supports the role of human rights defenders, also at the international level.


In 2004, the EU adopted the Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, which are intended to effectively promote and protect such people in third countries as part of the common foreign and security policy. A resolution on human rights defenders, which Slovenia supports, is tabled in the UN General Assembly every two years. In 1998, the UN General Assembly passed the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.


On the margins of the 28th session of the UN Human Rights Council, State Secretary Benko joined the #idefend campaign aimed at providing support for human rights defenders around the world. During the high-level segment of the session, the #idefend campaign is organised by the EU Mission in Geneva.

Rights of persons with disabilities

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted on 13 December 2006 in New York, and took effect on 3 May 2008; it has been in force in Slovenia since 24 April 2008. Slovenia was an active participant in the negotiations on the Convention, which is historically important, as it is the first legally binding UN instrument governing the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities, providing for the implementation of human rights, the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment and the prevention of discrimination of persons with disabilities. The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities monitors the implementation of the Convention through the system of periodic reporting of the States Parties. Slovenia had an appointed representative on the Committee during its first year of existence. 


In 2014, the UN Human Rights Council appointed a Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, transferring the mandate of the Special Rapporteur from the Commission for Social Development, which convenes in New York, to the UN Human Rights Council.


At the UN, the rights of persons with disabilities are dealt with by the General Assembly Third Committee, the Commission for Social Development and the Human Rights Council. A panel discussion on the rights of these people is held annually in the Human Rights Council. 


According to international law, the prohibition of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is absolute, which means that this is a basic human right which cannot be withheld or temporarily not provided in any case or situation.


The basic international law documents on the prohibition of torture include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 5), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 7), the 1949 Geneva Convention with Additional Protocols I and II of 8 June 1977, and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.


Slovenia has joined the Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI) Group of Friends, which strives to achieve universal ratification of the above Convention by 2024. The Convention currently has 157 States Parties.


As regards human rights, efforts to put into effect the prohibition of torture are among the EU’s priorities. For this purpose, the Union adopted the Guidelines to EU Policy towards Third Countries on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Initially adopted in 2001, the Guidelines were updated during the Slovenian EU Council Presidency in 2008, and again in 2012.