The law provides special rights and protections to indigenous Italian and Hungarian minorities, including the right to use their own national symbols and access to bilingual education. Each of these minorities has the right to representation as a community in parliament. Other minorities do not have comparable special rights and protections.

The government considered ethnic Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, Kosovo Albanians, and Roma from Kosovo and Albania to be "new minorities, and the

special constitutional provisions for indigenous minorities did not apply to them. The new minorities faced varying degrees of governmental and societal discrimination with respect to employment, housing, and education.

According to press reports, police opened an investigation in July into the appearance of posters with the slogan "Gypsies Raus (Gypsies Get Out) and neo-Nazi signs in the town of Lendava. Police arrested three young men for the crime. The Speaker of the National Assembly Pavel Gantar, Minister for Slovenians Abroad Bostjan Zeks, Human Rights Commissioner Zdenka Cebasek Travnik, and the head of the Slovenian Roma Association Jozko Horvat Muc condemned the incident.

Many Roma lived apart from other communities in settlements that lacked such basic utilities as electricity, running water, sanitation, and access to transportation. According to Roma Association officials, 68 percent of Romani settlements were illegal. Organizations monitoring conditions in the Romani community noted that the exclusion of Roma from the housing market remained a problem. The UN special rapporteur for human rights declared in August that Slovenia had failed to fulfill the basic human rights of its minority population, specifically failing to provide adequate water and housing to Roma.

Official statistics on Roma unemployment and illiteracy were not available. However, organizations monitoring conditions in the Romani community and

officials employed in schools with large Romani student populations unofficially reported that unemployment among Roma remained at approximately 98 percent and that illiteracy rates among Roma remained approximately 85 percent. Government officials emphasized that illegality of settlements remained

the biggest obstacle to implementing the rights of Roma to adequate housing, water, and sanitation. The independent ombudsman recommended to the government that it act on an emergency basis to legalize Romani settlements.

The government continued the second year of a five-year national action plan of measures to improve educational opportunities, employment, and housing for the Roma. NGOs and community group representatives reported some prejudice, ignorance, and false stereotypes of Roma propagated within society, largely through public discourse.