STA, 6 August 2020 - A tweet by an Interior Minister official in which he labels Slovenian social work centres as a "hotbed of feminists" and levels additional insults has caused uproar, with Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina condemning it as unacceptable in public discourse. "Hateful and intolerant discourse should not have a place in society," he said.
The tweet by Borut Jakopin, who is in charge of personal data protection at the ministry, was published recently as he commented on the conduct by social workers in the case of a 10-year-old boy who had drowned in the Soča river.
He said that "Slovenian [social work centres] are a hotbed of feminists, untended frustrated women and effeminate beta boys", with the tweet also being retweeted by Interior Ministry State Secretary Vinko Gorenak, who later removed the retweet.
Svetina, who was urged by the trade union of social work centres to react, said on Thursday that the tweet was unacceptable and he also expressed concern over intolerant rhetoric in social discourse.
"Hateful and intolerant discourse should not have place in society, and the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman condemns it," the press release says.
"It seems that we are descending into increasingly worse insults, destructiveness, intolerance and mutual attacks, while there is a lack of tolerance to people who think differently, of understanding and respect of personal dignity," it adds.
The prime minister's office has told the STA that the government had not discussed the tweet and that it had not taken any particular opinion on it.
The Interior Ministry has labelled the tweet as utterly inappropriate and has distanced itself from it, and noted that Jakopin did not have access to personal information of employees in social work centres.
In a subsequent statement it said expression of personal opinions in one's own free time and on topics that are not in the ministry's purview could not be considered a violation of the code of ethics, which was why the author of the tweet would not be subject to a disciplinary procedure.
The Ministry of Labour, the Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities has condemned "psychological, physical and verbal violence", adding that "such communication is inappropriate" and asking for an apology to social work centre employees.
The Chamber of Social Work has condemned the tweet as well, saying that "such insulting posts have a note of discreditation and deeply encroach upon the integrity of employees."