Slovenia welcomed a multiparty democratic political system in 1991 when it became an independent state. Today, Slovenia is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union. The civil society in the country is very vibrant and as a result of that Slovenia has undertaken a number of initiatives in recent years to address human rights issues. Slovenia recorded more than 27.000 registered non-governmental organizations in 2018. This article provides an overview of the most active non-governmental organizations in Slovenia that are concerned with human rights.
The HUMANITAS is a voluntary, non-governmental and non-profit human rights organization. Its principal goals are to offer assistance to less privileged groups in Slovenia and around the world by representing and asserting their interests and promoting tolerance. The mission of the organization is to raise awareness of global problems such as poverty, over-consumption, and the economic gap between differently developed countries through education. The organization carries out activities in the fields of child sponsorship, fair trade, responsible tourism and global education. The HUMANITAS is very active in projects carried out in Africa, such as implementing workshops for school children and students, seminars for teachers and other public events. The organization also runs specialized library, which operates inside Ljubljana’s municipality library, and offers books related to the wider human rights area.
The Peace Institute is a non-profit and independent research organization. It was founded in 1991 by a group of individuals who believed in equality and respect for human rights as well as peaceful conflict resolution. The Institute implements interdisciplinary research, educational and awareness-raising activities in the areas of social science, anthropology, law, and humanities. The research is based in five thematic fields: human rights and minorities, gender, cultural policies, politics and media. The organization works with vulnerable groups and acts against discrimination on national, regional and international levels. It cooperates closely with other research institutes, as well as universities and non-governmental organizations.
The Legal Centre for the Protection of Human Rights and Environment is an organization that offers legal support to individuals, vulnerable groups and non-governmental organizations in exercising and protecting their rights as well as strengthening their position in the society. The Centre actively participates in the decision-making processes, working bodies, committees, networks and forums with an aim to advance the position of non-governmental organizations in Slovenia. The organization’s goal is to strengthen the integrity in the non-governmental sector while advocating for transparent and responsible activities on all levels of the social system. The Centre provides legal support and counseling for the cases of human rights violations of vulnerable groups, foreigners, refugees, migrants, asylum seekers, persons with disabilities, as well as legal recommendations during the adoption of important laws that concern environmental protection and spatial management.
The Amnesty International has been combating human rights violations in this country for 23 years. It acts as an independent section of one of the largest worldwide human rights movements by following the same mission and working for the protection of human rights and full access to economic, social and cultural rights in Slovenia. The organization’s work is mainly focused on monitoring the areas of discrimination, women’s rights, and migrant and asylum seekers rights. The activities of the organization are directed towards achieving results in the human rights area including campaigning, lobbying and activism. The cases that the Amnesty International in Slovenia mostly deals with concern Roma discrimination, the case of ‘Erased in Slovenia’, the death penalty, women discrimination, child rights and poverty.
The YHD is a non-governmental organization that promotes equal rights and responsibilities for the handicapped people in all spheres of social life. The goal of the organization is to train personal assistants, experts, parents and other interest members of the society to be able to help handicapped people become more independent. It also actively works on fighting against discrimination, prejudices and stereotypes often posed against handicapped people as well as raising public awareness on these issues. The YHD provides a program intended for handicapped people who wish to live outside institutionalized forms of care and manage their lives independently.
The CNVOS is the national non-governmental umbrella network in Slovenia. It gathers around 1.100 non-governmental organizations and serves as the information, advocacy, training and project center. It acts as a promoter of transparent civil society in Slovenia. The CNSVO provides expertise and knowledge to non-governmental organizations in the areas of advocacy, law, project management, finance and communication. It directly helps its members by providing them with the current activities in the civil society sector, organizing annual trainings in the fields of management, administration, communication and advocacy and by developing project ideas and preparing project applications for tenders. The organization is also active in analyzing policies that affect the development of civil society organizations and lobbies for their adoption.
SONČEK was established in 1983 as a non-profit organization for people with disabilities and their parents. The organization incorporates fifteen regional societies for cerebral palsy which unite more than 4.000 children, youth and adults with cerebral palsy and other disabilities, including professionals, relatives and volunteers. SONČEK is active in advocating for societal conditions that will ensure equal opportunities for all citizens of Slovenia regardless of their physical or intellectual abilities and it strives to create an environment in which physical and intellectual differences will be accepted without prejudice. The goal of SONČEK is to provide full social inclusion for people with reduced capabilities.
SAFY is a non-governmental, voluntary, humanitarian and charitable organization working to represent the interests of children, young people and families in Slovenia. The organization’s mission is to maintain social security of these groups by promoting implementation of the conventions on the rights of child, raising the quality of children’s lives, reducing their social exclusion, giving them equal opportunities and helping them to create positive self-image while forming positive attitude and values to life.
The LEGEBITRA was founded by an informal group of students of the University of Ljubljana in 1998 with a mission to improve the position of LGBTIQ persons in Slovenia by ensuring a safe space and dissemination of accurate information and raising awareness and drawing attention to inequalities in Slovenian society. The goal of the organization is to provide counseling regarding sexual orientation, gender identities and expressions. The organization works on the values of recognition and respect of fundamental cultural, social, economic and political human rights with a special emphasis on equality and freedom from discrimination. The organization activities are based on mostly standing for mutual support of discriminated groups against oppression and discrimination.