Annual Review 2011

2011


Asylum

At the end of December, the Ministry of Interior rejected an asylum request from two gay men from Kosovo who claimed that they were persecuted on the grounds of their sexual orientation. Their first application was made in 2006 and was rejected in 2007 with an order for their immediate removal. However, they had successfully appealed on procedural grounds and in 2008, the Supreme Court had ordered that the Ministry of Interior start their procedure afresh, and consider their application in accordance with existing international standards for the protection of asylum seekers. Shortly thereafter, they left Slovenia for the Netherlands to seek medical assistance for their rapidly deteriorating health. In 2009, they were returned to Slovenia and their application for asylum was resubmitted. In December 2011, the Ministry of Interior rejected their claim on the grounds that they lacked credibility whilst also saying there would be no risk to their safety if returned to Kosovo as the rights of LGBT people were suffi ciently protected there. This was stated despite evidence to the contrary submitted by ŠKUC-LL which is supporting the couple.

Bias motivated speech

In May, hooligans from the Green Dragons football supporters club displayed a banner in Ljubljana’s main stadium that read For a family, stop Pride parade and burnt a rainbow flag. According to media reports, they were arrested and charged with incitement to hatred, violence or intolerance. Informational Centre Legebitra issued a press release and notifi ed the Slovene Football Association, which reportedly apologised for the incident through a press release and said it would take disciplinary action against the club.

Bias motivated violence

  • In May, an Italian LGBT human rights defender was attacked in a bar near Ljubljana’s train station. He had been to a gay bar in Ljubljana where two men had approached him and asked if he was gay; when he said he was they punched him in the face and kicked him. There were witnesses who filmed the attack. The police charged the two perpetrators with incitement to hatred, violence or intolerance with homophobia as an aggravating motive. The case was pending at the end of 2011.
  • In the early hours of the morning of the first day of Pride week, the LGBT bar Café Open had a cement block thrown through its window; an LGBT family event was scheduled to take place there later in the day. The bar has been attacked every year during Pride week since 2008, so it was assumed that this attack was also linked to Pride and the LGBT status of the bar. The incident was reported to the police and was video recorded. The police treated it as vandalism without adding a homophobic motive to the charge. Two of the five people involved in the incident were caught and the owner decided to settle for compensation rather than pressing charges. The original belief that this attack was of a homophobic nature, was corroborated by the political beliefs of the perpetrators and the fact that they belonged to a particular football supporters club.
  • In June, in Ljubljana, a British gay police officer who was on holiday in Slovenia with his friends was severely beaten by a group of men who used metal police-style batons. According to the victim’s account, the attack occurred after one of the Slovenians became aware that he was gay, became aggressive and started making homophobic comments. The perpetrators had followed him and had an argument with two of his friends before the British group split up. Later, the perpetrators found the victim and two of his friends in a shop where they severely beat them up. The police started an investigation, which was still ongoing at the end of 2011.
  • In August, a young male couple who were holding hands in a bar in Koper were approached by a customer who made homophobic comments, and told them to leave and threatened to attack them. He moved in to make them leave immediately; when the couple could not calm him down, they asked the owner to call the police. The police took statements from the victims and the perpetrator and despite the threats decided to charge the man with public nuisance rather than start criminal proceedings against him. According to Slovenian law, homophobic bias does not apply in cases of public nuisance.

Employment

A gay nurse who was offered a job at the University Clinical Centre in Ljubljana, went for the health check-up required by his employer. During the check-up he was subject to various judgemental comments about his HIV+ status from the examining physician. The first health certificate that was issued contained a comment about the need for the nurse to wear double gloves. The nurse made a formal complaint asking for the comment to be removed from his certifi cate. Subsequently, a new certificate was issued, but the employer insisted on seeing both certificates. The employer then notified the nurse that he no longer had the job. The medical centre, which undertook the examination, is run by the same employer who ultimately rejected the nurse. The nurse believes that his HIV+ status was passed on to the employer explaining why the job offer was revoked. The case is pending before the Labour and Social court in Ljubljana.

Family

  • In June, the legislature adopted a new Family Code that grants same-sex couples all the economic and political rights available to diff erent-sex couples, except for the entitlement to joint adoption. However, under the new law a same-sex partner could adopt the child of the other partner. LGBT human rights defenders supported the proposal as it gave same-sex couples full economic and social rights whereas the legislation in place did not grant around 35 economic and social rights which are available to diff erent-sex couples.
  • In June, the new Aliens Act was adopted and it came into force at the end of October. The Act includes the right to exercise the right of reunifi cation of family (e.g. obtaining residence permits for foreign partner) and it also covers registered same-sex couples.
  • In September, a group called the Civil Initiative for the Family and the Rights of the Child, that opposes marriage and family rights for LGBT people, formally requested a public referendum to reject the new Family Code. The Parliament referred the request to the Constitutional Court for a decision on whether or not it could proceed.
  • In November, an amendment to the rules on the registration of same-sex partnerships came into force allowing the entry of foreign registered same-sex partnerships into the register in Slovenia.
  • At the end of December, the Constitutional Court ruled on procedural grounds that the referendum to reject the Family Code could go ahead.

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