Zagovornik načela enakosti je samostojen državni organ, ki ima pravno podlago v Zakonu o varstvu pred diskriminacijo. Organ je bil ustanovljen 25. oktobra 2016, ko je Državni zbor za petletni mandat izvolil Miho Lobnika, univerzitetnega diplomiranega sociologa z večletnimi izkušnjami na področju spodbujanja enakopravnosti in preprečevanja diskriminacije za prvega zagovornika načela enakosti.
V skladu z 21. členom Zakona o varstvu pred diskriminacijo so naše naloge naslednje:
- opravljanje neodvisnih raziskav o položaju oseb z določeno osebno okoliščino, zlasti spola, narodnosti, rase ali etničnega porekla, vere ali prepričanja, invalidnosti, starosti in spolne usmerjenosti ter ostalih vprašanj v zvezi z diskriminacijo oseb z določeno osebno okoliščino;
- objavljanje neodvisnih poročil in izdajanje priporočil državnim organom, lokalnim skupnostim, nosilcem javnih pooblastil, delodajalcem, gospodarskim subjektom in drugim subjektom v zvezi z ugotovljenim položajem oseb z določeno osebno okoliščino, in sicer glede preprečevanja in odpravljanja diskriminacije ter sprejemanja posebnih in drugih ukrepov za odpravo diskriminacije;
- opravljanje nekaterih nalog inšpekcijskega nadzora na podlagi predlogov iz 5. poglavja tega zakona glede spoštovanja določb tega ali drugega zakona, ki določa njegovo pristojnost;
- zagotavljanje neodvisne pomoči diskriminiranim osebam pri uveljavljanju njihovih pravic v zvezi z varstvom pred diskriminacijo v smislu svetovanja in pravne pomoči strankam v drugih upravnih in sodnih postopkih, povezanih z diskriminacijo;
- osveščanje splošne javnosti o diskriminaciji in ukrepih za njeno preprečevanje;
- spremljanje splošnega stanja v Republiki Sloveniji na področju varstva pred diskriminacijo in položaja oseb z določenimi osebnimi okoliščinami;
- predlaganje sprejetja posebnih ukrepov za izboljšanje položaja oseb, ki so v manj ugodnem položaju zaradi določene osebne okoliščine;
- sodelovanje v sodnih postopkih zaradi diskriminacije v skladu s tem zakonom;
- zagotavljanje izmenjave razpoložljivih informacij o diskriminaciji z institucijami Evropske unije;
- ter opravlja druge naloge, določene z zakonom.
Miha Lobnik gained a BA in Sociology and was already socially active during his studies. Later, he acted as a consultant in the field of Student Social Policy, and for the last few years, he performed the work of a Programme Director at the Legebitra Information Centre. Relating to his international experience, he worked as Assistant Director for Eastern Europe and cooperated with the Council of Europe within the framework of ILGA in Brussels. Since October 2016, he has performed the function of Advocate of the Principle of Equality.
The first paragraph of Article 159 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia provides that an ombudsman for citizen’s rights shall be determined by law to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in relation to state authorities, local self-government authorities and holders of public authority. The Ombudsman and their responsibilities and powers in the public sector were established by the Law on the Ombudsman (ZVarCP). The Ombudsman is a constitutional category and represents an informal form of protection of individuals’ rights in relation to the national authorities, local self-government authorities and holders of public authority.
Advocate of the Principle of Equality was established in 2016 by the Law on Protection against Discrimination (ZVarD) as a separate and independent authority. In accordance with the authorizations and responsibilities specified in ZVarD, their operation is (also) that of an authority. An independent authority for the equality principle is part of the harmonisation of the Slovenian legal system with European Union Acquis, which expects adequate promotion of equality and prevention of discrimination from Member States. The legal basis for the establishment of Advocate of the Principle of Equality can be found HERE.
The Advocate of the Principle of Equality provides protection against discrimination to every individual, as well as to legal persons, regardless of any personal circumstance in various areas of social life, in respecting the human rights and fundamental freedoms, enforcing rights and liabilities and in other legal relationships. Unlike the Ombudsman, the powers of the Advocate of the Principle of Equality range to both the field of public and private sector. An important part of his jurisdiction is to carry out independent studies, research, analyses, to publish independent reports as well as to write recommendations and exchange available information with relevant European authorities.
The Advocate of the Principle of Equality provides independent support to discriminated persons in exercising their rights with counselling and legal assistance in other administrative and judicial procedures associated with discrimination, performs certain tasks of inspection control in the field of protection against discrimination, and participates in judicial proceedings due to discrimination by representing or accompanying them during legal proceedings, etc. The Advocate of the Principle of Equality may request a review of constitutionality and legality of regulations and general acts.
The Ombudsman does not have direct responsibilities for authoritative actions, but works in an informal way and derives its authority from their reputation and position in society and thus also contributes to the development and improvement of legal and administrative culture in relations between authorities and individuals. His actions are directed in oversight of authorities and are also expressed in measures directed against those authorities. The Ombudsman shall endeavour to settle matters amicably with a settlement, accept opinions concerning matters discussed, and decisions/final reports on subject matters containing a judgement about a violation of human rights or fundamental freedoms, or other irregularity. In their opinion, the Ombudsman also proposes a way on how to eliminate the violations. Their decisions are communicated both to respective authorities and the general public. The Ombudsman may request a review of constitutionality and legality of regulations and general acts issued for the exercise of public powers and constitutional complaint concerning an individual matter in question.