The constitution and law provide special rights and protections to indigenous Italian and Hungarian minorities, including the right to use their own national symbols and to have access to bilingual education. Each of these minorities has the right to representation as a community in parliament. The Romani community also benefits from protections under the constitution and law, which assure Romani representation in 20 municipalities around the country. The 2014 European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) report on the country stated, however, that the Law Implementing the Principle of Equal Treatment was dysfunctional and that, by the time of the report, racial discrimination had not been established in any case.
There were an estimated 8,000-12,000 Roma in the country, approximately 0.5 percent of the entire population. Discrimination against socially marginalized Roma persisted. Organizations monitoring conditions in the Romani community noted that the exclusion of Roma from the housing market remained a problem. Many Roma lived apart from other communities in illegal settlements lacking basic utilities such as electricity, running water, sanitation, and access to transportation.
Government officials emphasized that the illegality of settlements remained the biggest obstacle to providing Roma access to adequate housing, water, and sanitation. Under the law, only owners or persons with another legal claim to land may obtain public services and infrastructure, such as water, sanitation, transportation, and transport facilities. Lacking alternatives for resettlement, Roma were also vulnerable to forced evictions and discrimination. The government resolved such cases through dialogue with the Romani community. In April the government established a commission to safeguard Roma. The commission includes representatives from the Romani community and municipalities, and from the Ministries of Economy; Labor, Family, Social Affairs, and Equal Opportunity; Health; Environment and Spatial Planning; Education, Science, and Sport; Culture; and Public Administration.
Police conducted annual training for both police officers and civilians to sensitize them to the problems of working in a multicultural environment. Representatives of the Romani community participated in the program, which improved communication between police and individual Roma. The police force trained several officers in the Romani language and continued preparing a Slovenian-Romani dictionary.
Official statistics on Romani unemployment and illiteracy were not available. Organizations monitoring conditions in the Romani community and officials employed in schools with large Romani student populations unofficially reported that high unemployment and illiteracy rates among Roma remained a problem.
While education for children is compulsory through grade nine, school attendance and completion rates by Romani children remained low but showed signs of improvement. Poverty, discrimination, lack of parental and familial permission or support, and language differences continued to be the main barriers to the participation of Romani children in educational programs. The Ministry of Education, Science, and Sport financed a variety of programs to support Romani families and their children.
Although segregated classrooms are illegal, a number of Roma reported to NGOs that their children attended segregated classes and that school authorities selected them disproportionately to attend classes for students with special needs. A few educators confirmed that in some cases these groups consisted almost entirely of Romani students and pointed to the practice as de facto segregation. The European Social Fund, working in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Science, and Sport, continued funding 22 Romani educators to work with teachers and parents. According to the ministry, these educators had a positive effect on helping Romani children stay in school.
The government continued the final year of a five-year national action plan of measures to improve educational opportunities, employment, and housing for Roma. NGOs and community group representatives reported some prejudice, ignorance, and false stereotypes of Roma propagated within society, largely through public discourse.