Human rights body warns against autocratic moves

Ljubljana – Arbitrary decisions about anti-corona measures, autocratic and often repressive actions which Slovenia has been seeing in recent months do not help curb the Covid-19 pandemic but are diverting the public from supporting the necessary and urgent measures, the Human Rights Commission of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts (SAZU) has said.

The commission said in today’s statement that the pandemic undoubtedly called for restrictive measure, which mostly limit human rights “but it is essential that these measures are well conceived and that they are within the frameworks set by the Constitution”.

It is also important how they are communicated to the public, because this is what their acceptance depends on.

“The arbitrary adoption of measures and the autocratic and frequently repressive actions which we are seeing in Slovenia in recent months alongside attacks on media do not contribute to curbing the pandemic. On the contrary, they are diverting the public from supporting the necessary and urgent measures,” the commission said.

It blamed the government for abusing the epidemic to spread repression to the entire society, while spreading unrest and fear with inappropriate communication, including in health care and social care.

In the first wave of the epidemic, the government abused the institute of palliative medicine for not admitting the elderly to hospitals while now the question of patient selection is becoming an increasingly big problem.

The government purchased inappropriate medical devices, medical supplies and tests at the start of the epidemic. Now the situation seems to have partly improved, but there is still no evidence of full transparency.

The commission also said the government had not prepared for the second wave or strengthened the healthcare system. Now that the third wave is coming, it is making rash and careless plans for the privatisation of health.

Thus, the government brought the health system to its knees and partly cut the people’s right to timely hospital treatment, check-ups with their doctor and specialists, and to urgent diagnostic procedures, the commission said.

It called on the National Assembly to demand from the government to direct all its resources towards tackling the pandemic, preventing corruption and protecting human dignity, human rights and democracy.

The commission also asked President Borut Pahor to speak up against the harmful effects of government interfering in the media and culture, science, art and universities.