Slovene activists ask you to support their fight against discrimination

01/09/2006

Please read below an appeal for support actions by Slovene activists .

Call to support an NGO discriminated against by the state institution in Slovenia

The Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia (hereby referred to as the Ministry) on March 17th 2006 published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia a tender to support contents dealing with the themes of family. The organization Društvo informacijski center LEGEBITRA (hereby referred to as DIC LEGEBITRA) therefore submitted an application according to Item 2 of the tender documentation (twelve-month programs for children and young adults) applying with a project titled “Informacijski center LEGEBITRA - svetovanje in samopomoè” (Informational centre LEGEBITRA – counseling and self-help). Organization Društvo informacijski center LEGEBITRA is a non-governmental organization running programs against the discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The centre has a significant role in providing services for young people when it comes to social inclusion, counseling and self-help.

On June 9th the Ministry issued a decision with which they rejected our application. The reason for a rejection as written in the decision is “The submitted program of DIC LEGEBITRA is rejected as organization ŠKUC already received considerable means from European EQUAL programme to run projects dealing with the discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.” As this explanation, pertaining to the tender criteria, cannot pose grounds for a rejection,DIC LEGEBITRA submitted an official complaint to the decision on 21st June 2006. The official complaint explained that DIC LEGEBITRA is not in any way connected to ŠKUC nor is the organization in any way involved in the above mentioned programme ŠKUC is running. Furthermore the programme as implemented by ŠKUC focuses on the discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the workplace and not on the relevant issues concerning gay and lesbian youth, which was the primary aim of the programme as submitted by DIC LEGEBITRA. In the same complaint we also explained that DIC LEGEBITRA did not receive any other means or apply to any other tenders as issued by the Ministry in 2006.

On August 4th we received an official reply to our complaint where the Ministry states that the complaint is unfounded. The ministry again states that the means of the European Equal programme (63 mio SIT – approx. €260.000,00 ) allocated to ŠKUC could suffice for the financing of all the programs intended for gays and lesbians. The issued decision regardless of the statement that DIC LEGEBITRA did not receive any other means by the Ministry in 2006, again stresses that none of the applicants that have, in 2006, received means from the Ministry, was eligible for additional support.

On August 21st we have therefore issued a press release, please find it attached, where we have publicly addressed the Ministry on the issue of adding additional criteria for our application. The Ministry on the same day issued a reply for the Slovene Press Agency which only confirmed our claim of an act of discrimination as the Ministry again repeated that 63 mio SIT (approx. €260.000,00 ) was allocated to the non governmental organization ŠKUC (another legal subject) to run projects dealing with the discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It is indeed disappointing to see how European programme EQUAL (a programme intended for prevention of discrimination) is being used by one of the EU member states, to justify the discrimination and unequal treatment of one of the nongovernmental organizations.

We are therefore astonished over these actions, and wonder why the Ministry took the liberty to develop new criteria, which were then used to substantiate unequal treatment of our organization. None of the other applicants underwent the comparative process of whether their programs could be run by any other organization. We therefore call upon the Ministry to reveal true reasons behind the rejection of our programme.

On the other hand, we would like to appeal to you to react on this and send your letters of support or any other reactions on this topic to the following address: Legebitra@siol.net.

Contact: MIHA LOBNIK,President Drustvo informacijski center LEGEBITRA

E-mail: legebitra@siol.net

website: www.drustvo-legebitra.si

Telephone: + 386 41 50 84 50

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