Report critical of Slovenia limiting freedoms during pandemic

Brussels/Berlin – Slovenia is among the worst offenders in the EU to have disproportionately restricted freedoms during Covid-19 pandemic, says a report by Greenpeace and Civil Liberties Union for Europe which looks at how government measures around the EU have impacted on democracy and activism.

The first Locking Down Critical Voices report, published on Thursday, says that the Slovenian government has used the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to limit criticism of the administration.

It finds that the governments in several EU member states disproportionately limited the freedoms of their citizens during the pandemic. More than half of the EU member states also failed to protect their citizens’ right to peaceful assembly.

“A number of governments have curtailed public access to information and participation in decision making. Slovenia is one example, together with Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Spain,” the report adds.

Linda Ravo, advocacy officer for Civil Liberties Union for Europe, said that “in Slovenia, beyond severe restrictions applied to freedom of assembly, the government has encouraged the use of digital technology to track down protesters.”

She adds that the Slovenian government has also attacked media freedom, limited access to information and used accelerated procedures to weaken environmental standards.

“Slovenia has seen clear signs of political interference in areas like the policing of protests and media freedom. The EU must be more vocal and braver against governments which have exploited the crisis to crack down on dissent,” Ravo stressed.

For Slovenia, the report is based on research carried out by NGOs that are part of Liberties’ network, with the support of the national Greenpeace office.