Debate hears human rights eroding under current government

Ljubljana – A round table debate was critical of the government’s measures to stem the Covid-19 epidemic and the manner in which it communicates with the public. Warnings could be heard about the state of human rights eroding under the current government and there were calls for citizens not to be silent about such developments.

Among others, Monday’s debate hosted by the Coordination of Patriotic and Veteran Organisations featured lawyer Nataša Pirc Musar, the former information commissioner, who is concerned about the “unbearable erosion of law” during the current government.

She also noted the easiness with which measures are being taken without due deliberation, and is especially bothered by the “true hooliganism” of the government adopting regulations for which is its clear in advance that they are unconstitutional.

Pirc Musar has been noticing over the past year “how the right political pole has become the fiercest advocate of the freedom of expression”, while forgetting about the remaining human rights. The former is limited with other rights, including with the right to privacy.

According to her, the principle of proportionality should be followed under which certain human rights may be limited in a democracy under certain conditions. She thus called on citizens not to be quiet as “this is the only was to prevent the terrifying erosion of human rights and law as a whole”.

Slovenia’s former Ambassador to Switzerland Marta Kos talked about the government’s communication during the epidemic, which according to her was unified and efficient in the first wave, while inadequate in the second wave.

For this reason, the measures have not had the effect that they could have, Kos said, noting that the government had made three major mistakes. “Instead of building trust, it is undermining it,” she said about the first mistake.

The second mistake is the “constant persecution of the media” that could have severe long-term consequences. “Where there is no free media, there is no democratic society,” she said, adding that the government was behaving “indecently” when it came to the financing of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA).

Kos mentioned as the third mistake the “inappropriate communication with which the government is undermining Slovenia’s reputation in the world”. She is concerned that Slovenia might have lost a lot of credibility in the international arena in recent months.

Former Health Minister Dušan Keber pointed to what he believes are mistakes in decisions to stem the epidemic that are the consequence of a misplaced theory about the spreading of the novel coronavirus, which he believes is transferred aerogenically.

On the other hand, all measures and instructions are based on the theory that the virus is spread by droplets, and Keber instead proposes that the main measure should be regular ventilation of public and private spaces.

This should be discussed as frequently as wearing face masks and hand sanitation, and citizens should also be encouraged to wear thicker masks that stop aerosols. All measures for outdoors could practically be dropped, he said.

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