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UN expert visits Slovenia to assess the rights of minorities

GENEVA (4 April 2018) – The UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Fernand de Varennes, will visit Slovenia from 5 to 13 April to gather first-hand information on the situation of minorities in the country, and to identify good practices as well as key areas that require more effort.

The visit will focus particularly on existing policies for the protection and promotion of the rights of persons belonging to national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities. The issue of access to quality education - including in minority languages - will be considered as well as questions relating to freedom of religion, problems over inclusion and political participation, and the fight against intolerance and hate speech. 

“I will assess the legislative and institutional framework for the promotion and protection of the rights of minorities in Slovenia and I will consult widely over specific policies and initiatives to ensure the country’s compliance with its international obligations,” said Mr. de Varennes.

The Special Rapporteur added: “I will integrate a strong gender perspective in my observations and recommendations to the Government of Slovenia, by highlighting the situation of minority women and girls.”

Mr. de Varennes will also be looking at the human rights situation of particularly vulnerable minorities, such as the Roma, and the so-called “erased” people from other former Yugoslav republics who live in Slovenia but have had no legal status since the country’s independence in 1991.

“I am confident this visit will be the beginning of a constructive dialogue with Slovenia in its continued efforts to ensure that no minority, be it national, ethnic, religious or linguistic, is left behind,” the expert said.

During his nine-day mission the Special Rapporteur will visit the capital Ljubljana, as well as Lendava, Koper and Metlika. He will meet senior government officials, representatives of civil society and members of minorities, including of the deaf community with regard to, inter alia, their rights as members of a linguistic minority.

At the end of his visit, on Friday 13 April 2018, Mr. de Varennes will share his preliminary findings and recommendations at a news conference at the Hotel Lev, Vošnjakova ulica 1, 1000 Ljubljana, at 13.00 local time. 

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report of his visit to a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council.


Mr. Fernand de Varennes was appointed as UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues by the Human Rights Council in June 2017. He is tasked by the UN Human Rights Council, to promote the implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, among other things.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Proceduresof the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

Read the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.

UN Human Rights country page: Slovenia

For inquiries and media requests, please contact:
In Slovenia (during the visit) and in Geneva (before and after the visit):
Anis Anani (+41 78 890 22 16 / aanani@ohchr.org )

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact:
Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rights: www.standup4humanrights.org.