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Are special/positive measures for securing advancement and protection of certain racial or ethnic groups widely adopted and implemented?

Key Area:
Anti-discrimination Legislation & Implementation
Discrimination, Equality
09/11/2011 - 23:44
Short Answer

Yes, however, limited use is made of the possibility to introduce positive measures. Special measures are adopted only with regard to protection of the two national minorities (Hungarian and Italian), by awarding some special rights concerning the political representation of the Roma ethnic group, and by some special measures concerning employment of people with disabilities.

Qualitative Info

Special measures are adopted only with regard to protection of the two national minorities (Hungarian and Italian), by awarding some special rights concerning the political representation of the Roma ethnic group, and by some special measures concerning employment of people with disabilities.


The position of the two officially recognized national minorities is regulated by the Constitution, ratified international documents, legislation and statutes of the municipalities. The Italian and Hungarian national minorities enjoy some special rights in addition to all human rights and fundamental freedoms. Roma are not considered a national minority at the same level as Italians and Hungarians, but are considered a special ethnic community with 'specific ethnic characteristics', such as language, culture, etc.


Even though the Roma community is not offered similar self-governance as the Hungarian and Italian National Community it is organized in the Roma Union of Slovenia. This is an umbrella organization for Roma associations. As the Sinti community in Slovenia does not consider itself as part of Roma community, while the authorities consider them exactly that, they have no official venue of their own through which they could participate in the process of improving of their situation. Article 65 of the Constitution stipulates that the status and special rights of the Roma living in Slovenia are regulated by law. Government social programs  provide measures aiming at ensuring the equality of the Roma. One of the most important and still current is the Government program for assisting Roma people from 1995.  On 30 March 2007 Roma Community Act  was adopted. It provides for establishment of Council of Roma Community of the Republic of Slovenia which represents the interest of Roma community in a dialogue with state bodies. It consists of 21 members (14 representatives of Roma Union of Slovenia and seven representatives of local Roma communities). The act also sets financial obligations of the Republic of Slovenia and its local self-governing communities for guaranteeing special rights of Roma community. In the legislation there are additional provisions concerning Roma in twelve different organic laws. One of them, the Local Self-Government Act, stipulates that Roma people, who are 'autochthonous' (indigenous) to a particular area shall have at least one representative in the municipal council (Article 39, §5). The term 'autochthonous' refers to peoples who have lived in Slovenia for centuries, in a territory in which these peoples do not consider themselves to be foreigners or immigrants. The Act was put to constitutional review due to distinguishing between those Roma who are autochthonous and those who are not. The complaint was filed by Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Slovenia. With the ruling No. U-I-15/10-13 of 16. 6. 2010 the Constitutional Court confirmed the conformity of the act with the constitution.


The Local Self-Government Act lists 20 municipalities which were obliged to ensure that the Roma community has a representative in the local council until regular local elections in 2002. Now all municipalities have a Roma representative in the local council. This distinction between Roma communities on the basis of being autochthonous is in fact discriminatory as was also noted by the UN Human Rights Committee, Amnesty International and the European Roma Rights Centre.  The Local Self-government Act also provides for committees on Roma issues as working bodies of the local councils, although these are not obligatory.


Another measure for promoting the position of the Roma community is included in the Act on Radio Television Slovenia, which entered into force on 12 November 2005 and stipulates that gradually Roma radio and television shows are to be included on the public channel, RTV. According to Article 3 of this act, public service includes the making, preparation, and broadcasting of radio and television programs for the Roma ethnic community.


According to Article 3 of the Promotion of Balanced Regional Development Act,  which entered into force on 5 November 2005, one of the goals of regional development is to include developing areas populated by both autochthonous minorities and Roma communities. It also stipulates that a Roma representative should be a member of the Regional Development Council in regions populated by Roma communities (representatives to be appointed by the Roma community). Article 25 of the Organization and Financing of Education Act sets competences of the Council of Experts of the Republic of Slovenia for General Education in adopting supplementary (additional) programs for Roma children. Article 81, §7 provides resources to be allocated from the national budget for various activities and projects (funds for writing and financing schoolbooks, resources for educating the Roma and partial funding for their education in primary schools).


The special rights of Italian and Hungarian national minorities are either collective rights, awarded to the whole community, or individual rights awarded to members of the national minority. The Constitution guarantees autochthonous Italian and Hungarian minorities the right to freely use their national symbols and the right to establish organizations to foster economic, cultural, scientific and research activities, as well as activities associated with the mass media and publishing.


In accordance with the Constitution and the Special Rights for Members of the Italian and Hungarian National Minorities in the Field of Education Act,  members of national minorities have the right to education in the minority language and the right to adopt and to promote education. This act defines geographic areas where bilingual schooling is compulsory. The same act stipulates that members of the Italian or Hungarian national minorities must be among the teachers who perform consultancy and supervisory work in educational organizations (Article 28). The Constitution guarantees the right to foster contacts with the wider Italian and Hungarian communities living outside Slovenia, and with Italy and Hungary respectively. The State shall give financial support and encouragement to the implementation of these rights (Article 64). The Italian and Hungarian ethnic communities shall be directly represented at local level and shall also be represented in the National Assembly (Article 64, Paragraph 3). Self-governing communities established by the Self-governing Ethnic Communities Act  is important for the development of culture, language and schooling and implementation of special rights of national minorities. Roma communities are not offered similar self-governance or the representative in the National Assembly. 

The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities Act was adopted in 2004 and amended in 2005 and 2006. Article 2 states that the aim of the act is to increase the opportunities for people with disabilities to be employed and to create the circumstances for them to equally participate in the labour market by eliminating obstacles and creating equal opportunities. Ths act established mandatory quotas of employed people with dissabilities. Instead of employing people with disaabilities employers have an option of paying into the fund available for the employers to cover the costs of reasonable accommodation for adapting the workplace for people with disabilities.  



Human Rights Ombudsman Annual Report 2008, p. 47.

Zakon o romski skupnosti v Republiki Sloveniji [The Roma Community Act], Official Journal of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 33/2007.

Zakon o lokalni samoupravi [The Local Self-government Act], Official Journal of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 57/1994, 14/1995, 26/1997, 70/1997, 10/1998, 74/98.

Zakon o Radioteleviziji Slovenija [The Radio and Television Slovenia Act], Official Journal of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 96/2005.

Zakon o spodbujanju skladnega regionalnega razvoja – Uradno prečiščeno besedilo [Promotion of Balanced Regional Development Act – Official Consolidated Version], Official Journal of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 83/2003.

Zakon o posebnih pravicah pripadnikov italijanske in madžarske narodne skupnosti na področju izobraževanja [The Special Rights for Members of the Italian and Hungarian National Minorities in the Field of Education Act], Official Journal of the Republic of  Slovenia, No. 12/1982.

Zakon o zaposlitveni rehabilitaciji in zaposlovanju invalidov [Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled Persons Act], Official Journal of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 63/2004, 100/2005 and 114/2006.



Groups affected/interested Ethnic minorities, Linguistic minorities
Type (R/D)
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Culture, Media, Political participation
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