The protection of vulnerable groups is taken into account in the drafting of the implementing documents produced by the Slovenian Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief (URSZR) to assist in the planning of safeguard measures, i.e. by defining the following safeguards that are designed to assist in the planning and implementation of such measures: Sheltering – definition of a safeguard measure to assist in the planning and implementing of the measure, Document No. 840-2/2019-1 – DGZR of 18 September 2019) safeguard measure Evacuation – Recommendation (Document No. 840-1/2017-1 – DGZR of 9 October 2017), safeguard measure Reception and care of deprived people – Recommendation (Document No. 840-5/2018-1 – DGZR of 27 September 2018), radiological, chemical and biological protection – specification of the safeguard measure to assist in the planning and implementing of the measure (Document No. 840-2/2020-3 – DGZR of 4 June 2021).
When planning the above safeguard measures, in addition to other basic assumptions underlying the planning of each of these measures, the care for vulnerable groups needs to be specified (e.g. sick and elderly people, disabled people, convalescents, pregnant women and mothers and single parents with dependent children and other persons with special needs), including the individuals who may need additional assistance or support. The vulnerability of persons is also specified when registering their arriving in a shelter, when they are received and given care, including the radiological, chemical and biological protection, especially for decontamination — a database of vulnerabilities (persons with special needs, chronic patients, elderly people, children) is kept.
These safeguards require that vulnerable groups be given special attention (e.g. sick and elderly people, people with disabilities, convalescents, pregnant women, mothers and single parents with dependent children and other persons with special needs).
In this context, children and young people are defined as more vulnerable in certain circumstances, since they are more exposed to adverse impacts. Due to their dependence, they depend on the decisions and choices of adults in the event of a disaster. They carry a high psychological burden and it is therefore important that we are aware of their vulnerability and act accordingly.
Older people often live alone and are physically weaker. These two factors increase their vulnerability. In addition, the elderly are often affected by chronic health conditions, problems with movement and mental health impairment. Older people may find it difficult to adapt to new environments, which requires special efforts.
Residents with special needs — this group includes people with various physical or mental impairments. Their physical limitations require that they be provided with certain additional facilities such as ramps to allow adequate access by wheelchair users, and to meet other specific requirements that they may have.
Vulnerable groups are also given special attention in the National Plan for Protection and Rescue in the Outbreak of an Infectious Disease or Pandemic in Humans (version 2.0; No. 84200-2/2020/3 of 23 July 2020) in the context of providing information to the general public, where all this is specified; however the focus should be on access to information (format, language, content and information channel) for each individual in Slovenia, regardless of their language, social status or other circumstances, which includes vulnerable groups. In the context of providing assistance to vulnerable and affected populations, it is specified that protection, rescue and relief forces at local, regional and national levels are engaged in providing logistical services to persons in quarantine or isolation (e.g. food, medicines, medical supplies and other essential living supplies) and in providing adequate care for vulnerable groups. In addition, NGOs, humanitarian and other organisations are engaged in providing assistance to vulnerable groups at the level of municipalities. Their method of operation and the tasks to be carried out are agreed with the local community. The circumstances of individual groups’ vulnerability are also taken into account in the preparation of information material (instructions and recommendations) on communicable diseases in humans for the general public and for particularly vulnerable populations.
In its activities within the UN, Slovenia actively participates in Security Council debates on children in armed conflict, sexual violence in conflict, women, peace and security, as well as in discussions on sexual violence and the protection of civilians. Slovenia is a signatory to the Safe Schools Declaration and supports the Vancouver Principles. In the context of debates on children and armed conflict, Slovenia regularly calls on all countries that have not yet done so to become more actively engaged in the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child regarding the involvement of children in armed conflict and to join the Paris Principles and the Paris Commitments, the Safe Schools Declaration and the Vancouver Principles. Slovenia is an active member of the Group of Friends of Children and Armed Conflict, which supports the mandate of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict in New York and Geneva. The situation of children affected by armed conflict in general and in some of the countries concerned was highlighted in Slovenia’s national role and in joint statements with other countries within the UN Human Rights Council, including in the Universal Periodic Review. Together with a group of initiators, Slovenia has drafted a traditional resolution on minorities that addresses minorities in humanitarian situations.
Within the UN Human Rights Council, Slovenia regularly participates in discussions with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and in joint statements on children and armed conflict, women and armed conflict, and women, peace and security. In recent years, Slovenia has also co-sponsored resolutions concerning women and girls in humanitarian situations and the anniversary of UNSC resolution 1325. Slovenian representatives took part in two workshops on the “Safe Schools Declaration”.
Within the UN Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review, Slovenia has repeatedly raised the issue of serious violations of international humanitarian law and serious violations and abuses of international human rights law by states, thereby addressing the situation of vulnerable groups that, apart from women and children, also include persons with disabilities, the elderly, etc.
Slovenia regularly calls for the respect for international humanitarian law and international human rights law. It also calls for accountability for all those responsible for human rights violations.
In November 2018, Slovenia adopted the Second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2018–2020. Slovenia has established the Centre for Education and Training for Participation in Peacekeeping Operations and Missions, which provides at least one education in the field of women, peace and security per year. Slovenian activities related to the women, peace and security agenda abroad are also carried out by the ITF.
In 2021, Slovenian representatives also took part in the international conference entitled High-Level Hybrid Roundtable on Women, Peace and Security – Advancing Women’s Meaningful Participation in Peace and Security through an EU and NATO External Approach.