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.
Human rights are addressed in a comprehensive manner. Together with security and development, they form the three pillars of international coexistence and development. Committed to respecting human rights both in bilateral relations and the EU external action, Slovenia has become their champion within international organisations.
Gender equality and women's empowerment
Slovenia promotes all human rights of girls and women and their empowerment, since everything that society has to offer cannot be enjoyed by excluding one half of the world's population. Slovenia is strongly opposed to all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, and advocates for the elimination of such practices.
Gender has been mainstreamed into other foreign policy aspects and gender equality has become a cross-cutting issue of Slovenia's development cooperation. Women's empowerment and gender equality are also fostered in the context of dispute prevention and settlement, post-conflict recovery, as well as protecting women and girls in vulnerable societies.
Slovenia participates in discussions, working groups, and negotiations in international organisations and forums, thereby raising its profile as an advocate of women's empowerment and gender equality. In addition, the gender perspective is strongly defended when shaping the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy.
Women's empowerment in the UN
Slovenia is among the countries that have long been advocating for mainstreaming the gender equality principle into the UN structure. Accordingly, it was one of the initiators of the Working Group of the UN Human Rights Council on discrimination against women and girls. It has also actively promoted the setting up of UN Women.
Women, peace and security
Slovenia is committed to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security at the national and international levels. Its activities are planned in accordance with the second national action plan for the 2018–2020 period, defining the key areas of interest. The action plan is based on the review of the implementation of the first action plan for the 2010–2015 period.
Slovenia also takes part in the relevant discussions and activities of the UN Security Council, NATO and the EU. It is a founding member of the global Women, Peace and Security Focal Points Network.
Slovenia is well-known in the international community for promoting and protecting children's rights and is among the most active EU Member States in terms of shaping the relevant Common Foreign and Security Policy. Most attention is devoted to protecting children from violence, particularly during and after armed conflicts, and to their empowerment, for instance through the Our Rights project. Focus is also placed on the status of girls, who are more likely to become victims of violations than boys.
Slovenia co-initiated the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure for reporting violations to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. In addition, it successfully promoted the setting up of European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse to raise awareness and foster the Lanzarote Convention implementation.
Rights of older persons
Slovenia is committed to ensuring that human rights are respected and enjoyed in all stages of life. Ageing-related demographic changes are becoming a global phenomenon, posing a significant challenge to sustainable development. Slovenia advocates the elimination of all forms of discrimination against the elderly, particularly women.
In recent years, Slovenia has become involved in a number of activities related to ageing and the rights of older persons, promoting the adoption of a convention on the human rights of older persons. In 2015, it was elected to the Bureau of the UN Open-ended Working Group on Ageing and was among the most vocal supporters of the appointment of the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons (HROP) with the UN Human Rights Council. In November 2014, the first Independent Expert chose Slovenia for her first country visit.
Protection of vulnerable groups and non-discrimination
Owing to the universal character of human rights, Slovenia is well aware of the overwhelming priority to guarantee human rights to vulnerable groups and staunchly supports the notion that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
Slovenia has in place a solid constitutional and legislative framework for the protection of minority rights. Minority rights implementation around the world is also its priority within international organisations. Together with Austria and Senegal, Slovenia put forward the Resolution of the HRC on the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons
Slovenia's activities are focused on the importance of non-discrimination against LGBTI persons, as their rights are not new rights granted to individuals based on their sexual orientation; these are human rights that are universal, inherent to every individual without discrimination. Slovenia is striving to put the issue of discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation or gender identity on the agenda of international organisations. It has been actively engaged in nominating the HRC Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Furthermore, Slovenia was a founding member of the Equal Rights Coalition formed in 2016 at the Global LGBTI Human Rights Conference in Uruguay.
Rights of persons with disabilities
In international forums, Slovenia advocates the recognition and enjoyment of human rights of persons with disabilities. It actively co-shaped the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol.
In international organisations, Slovenia is a staunch supporter of regional and universal international instruments to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and other forms of intolerance. Prior to 2016, Slovenia and Belgium led negotiations on a UN General Assembly Resolution on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. At the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, Slovenia upheld the motion to include the topic in the resolution on the treaty body system.
Abolition of the death penalty
Slovenia strongly condemns the death penalty. It has long been advocating for a general ban on the death penalty. This is a cruel and unusual punishment violating an individual's right to life. Slovenia strives for the adoption of resolutions in international organisations imposing a moratorium on the death penalty, particularly in the UN and the Council of Europe. It also supports the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.
Prohibition of torture
Slovenia believes that the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under international law is absolute, being such a fundamental human right that it cannot, in any case or circumstance, be suspended or temporarily set aside. Slovenia is part of the Group of Friends of the Convention Against Torture Initiative working towards its universal ratification by 2024.
International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance
Slovenia is a member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The Slovenian Delegation consists of government and external experts included in various working groups: academic, educational, museum, and communication. In 2018, the first national report on IHRA activities was published for the 2011–2017 period.
Every year on 27 January, Slovenia joins other countries to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day and marks the national Holocaust Remembrance Day, thereby preserving the memory of the Holocaust. Slovenia also fosters awareness of this tragic chapter in history under the slogan "NEVER AGAIN", convinced that education and research help prevent such events from ever happening again.
Human rights and the environment
Over the last decade, global awareness of the fundamental interrelation between human rights and the environment has been on the increase, also as a result of Slovenia's activities in international forums, particularly the HRC. Slovenia was among the proponents of the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment; since 2011, Slovenia, Costa Rica, the Maldives, and Switzerland have co-sponsored a HRC Resolution on Human Rights and the Environment.
Slovenia's international efforts for the recognition of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment also bring attention to its regulatory framework: Article 72 of the Constitution enshrines the right to a healthy living environment. Slovenia's activities are guided by the notion that challenges must be addressed comprehensively, by taking into account security and development aspects, as well as human rights, which are the cornerstones of democratic societies and sustainable development. Slovenia therefore strives to integrate the pillars of the international legal system and coordinate their action.
Human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation
Slovenia is a staunch supporter of the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation in international forums and is a member of the Blue Group advocating the universal enjoyment of the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation.
In 2008, Slovenia supported the setting up of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation. The first Special Rapporteur visited Slovenia in 2010, which was the first visit by a HRC Special Rapporteur to Slovenia.
Business and human rights
Slovenia is committed to the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, collaborating with the UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises and participating in the annual Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva. To implement the UN Guiding Principles, the National Action Plan of the Republic of Slovenia on Business and Human Rights was adopted in 2018.
Human rights education and the Our Rights project
Human rights education is a foreign policy priority, as it is essential to building and maintaining a democratic, tolerant, and sustainable society based on values and mutual respect. This can only be achieved if individuals are well-informed of their rights and the rights of others and actively strive for their promotion.
As regards human rights education and training, Slovenia is among the most active countries worldwide. Since 2009, it has been a member of the Human Rights Platform that headed the initiative for the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training. Slovenia is also actively promoting the World Programme for Human Rights Education.
Since 2005, Slovenia has been involved in the human rights education project Our Rights, which is aimed at lower grades of elementary school.
Human rights defenders
In international forums, Slovenia advocates the view that civil society and human rights defenders are essential to both guaranteeing human rights and the rule of law, and the overall social development. Slovenia is strongly opposed to any attempts at retaliation against individuals or organisations that cooperate or aspire to cooperate with UN human rights mechanisms, as such measures are unacceptable and contrary to international human rights law.
Universal Periodic Review
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is an effective peer review mechanism held within the HRC, which helps enhance the respect for, and the implementation of, human rights at both national and international levels. Slovenia engages in interactive dialogue on the human rights situation with all UN Member States, providing recommendations to foster human rights implementation. All Slovenia's UPR reports are available under the topic International human rights instruments and Slovenia's reporting.
Universal Declaration of Human RightsOn the occasion of its 70th anniversary, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs published an official translation of this fundamental document that had previously been available in the Slovene language thanks to the efforts of the United Nations Association of Slovenia. After the atrocities of World War II, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights articulated the expectations of, and efforts for, ensuring dignity for all, personal freedom, and freedom from fear and want. It is the most far-reaching UN document of its kind, which also laid the foundations for the entire international human rights framework. Human rights have traditionally been a priority of Slovenian foreign policy, with a special emphasis on the protection of vulnerable groups, the fight against all forms of discrimination, and human rights education.