Business and human rights
Economic operators established under Slovenian law or operating in Slovenia are obliged to respect and protect human rights. In November 2018, the Slovenian Government adopted the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP), which aims to strengthen activities designed to ensure that the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are implemented and that human rights are respected in business activities throughout the value chain. The NAP is also aimed at additionally developing cooperation between the state, business enterprises, business associations, unions, NGOs, and other stakeholders.
National Action Plan and its implementation
The National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (in Slovene) (NAP) is based on three pillars, also provided for in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, namely:
- Responsibility of the state for establishing an appropriate legal framework
- Companies’ responsibility to ensure respect for human rights, and
- Responsibility of the state to sanction violations
The Guidelines on Corporate Human Rights Due Diligence are included as an annex to the NAP.
The implementation of the NAP is ensured by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with other ministries and government departments, including the Human Rights Ombudsman, representatives of businesses, trade unions, NGOs, and academia. Periodic inspections of implementation will be carried out every two years, followed by relevant recommendations.
According to the NAP, the state must enforce laws that are aimed at, or have the effect of, requiring business enterprises to respect human rights, and periodically, to assess the adequacy of such laws and address any gaps.
These findings were the basis for the inclusion in this NAP of the following priorities:
Promotion of equal opportunities
The promotion of equal opportunities is one of the priorities of the Slovenian Government. It is carried out by ministries and government departments.
The Advocate of the Principle of Equality was established as an independent state institution for protection against discrimination under the Protection Against Discrimination Act. Its task is to make recommendations to employers, economic operators and other entities with regard to the prevention and elimination of discrimination, the performance of inspection tasks, and the provision of independent assistance in terms of advice and legal assistance related to discrimination.
Protection of fundamental rights at work (precarious work)
In cooperation with social partners, Slovenia is planning to adopt specific measures aimed to provide quality jobs offering employees an adequate level of legal, economic, and social security and consequently to further reduce segmentation on the labour market. The Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities has drafted a document titled For a Decent Life (2016) and set up the Regional Center for Decent Work Ljubljana (RCDDL), co-financed from the European Social Fund (2017).
Environmental protection and sustainable development
Consumer protection also extends to environmental protection, which is focused on the right of consumers to a healthy environment, and on sustainable consumption. It concerns services of general economic interest (water, telecommunications, energy), whereby the access of consumers to such services must be ensured, taking into account the precautionary principle.
Human trafficking prevention
Slovenia joined active efforts to combat human trafficking in 2002 by appointing a national coordinator for this field and by establishing the Inter-Ministerial Working Group on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, which also involves NGOs and humanitarian organisations. The Working Group assists the national coordinator in making proposals to strengthen the effectiveness of anti-trafficking policies and measures, draws up strategy papers, and supports the implementation of the requirements and recommendations of the various international control mechanisms in this area. Further information is available on the Combating trafficking in human beings page.
An important tool for identifying victims is the Manual on the Identification of, Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings (2016).
Human rights due diligence
The due diligence process is a method for ensuring diligent conduct of business enterprises in relation to human rights and the environment. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights define human rights due diligence as a process carried out by business enterprises to identify, prevent and mitigate adverse impacts on human rights, as well as to report on methods to reduce such impacts.
Currently, 18 Slovenian companies (BTC d.d., Energija Plus d.o.o., GEN energija d.o.o., Komunala Slovenj Gradec d.o.o., Kontrola zračnega prometa d.o.o., Krka d.d., Lek d.d., Loterija Slovenije d.d., Luka Koper d.d., Plinovodi d.o.o., Pošta Slovenije d.o.o., SID Banka d.d., Slovenske železnice d.o.o., Slovenski državni holding d.d., Telekom Slovenije d.d., Triglav Zdravstvena zavarovalnica d.d., Vzajemna d.v.z., Zavarovalnica Triglav d.d.) have signed the Commitment to respect human rights in business operations (in Slovene). They undertake to carry out measures to ensure respect for human rights in the economy as set out in the NAP gradually, within three years from the signing of the declaration at the latest.
Public procurement as a tool to promote secondary policies
Public procurement is an important generator of economic growth. It can influence production and supply in the market but can also be one of the more powerful levers a country can use to achieve strategic or secondary policy objectives. According to the Slovenian Government, socially responsible public procurement (SRPP) is and remains one of the key guidelines for the development of the public procurement system. In 2010, the European Commission published a guidebook titled Buying Social – A Guide to Taking Account of Social Considerations in Public Procurement.
Human rights in Slovenian foreign policy
Human rights are universal and indivisible. Everyone has the same rights, regardless of nationality, place of residence, gender, ethnicity, skin colour, religion, language or any other personal circumstance. Therefore, the Slovenian foreign policy regards political, civil, economic, social, and cultural rights to be equal.