Odprto pismo institucijam EU v zvezi z odzivom na pandemijo v Sloveniji / Open Letter to EU Institutions Regarding the Response to the Pandemic in Slovenia

Odprto pismo institucijam EU v zvezi z odzivom na pandemijo v Sloveniji / Open Letter to EU Institutions Regarding the Response to the Pandemic in Slovenia

Odprto pismo institucijam EU v zvezi s Slovenijo

Zadeva: Vojaški odziv vlade Republike Slovenije na zdravstveno krizo

Spoštovana Ursula von der Leyen, Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, Michael O'Flaherty in Donald Tusk,

civilna iniciativa InfoKolpa, Border Violence Monitoring Network, Radio Študent, Are You Syrious? in Zdravniki za azilante želimo opozoriti na skrb vzbujajoče ravnanje nove vlade Republike Slovenije pri sprejemanju ukrepov proti pandemiji bolezni Covid-19.

Vlada Republike Slovenije pandemijo zlorablja za uveljavljanje politik strahu in diskriminacije proti eni izmed najbolj ranljivih skupin v Evropi - proti migrantom in beguncem, ki so ujeti na balkanski poti. V Sloveniji je politika strahu vodila do vladnega poziva v parlamentu, da se uveljavi 37.a člen Zakona o obrambi. Aktivacija tega člena bi slovenski vojski zagotovila nejasna pooblastila za “zaščito širšega mejnega območja”. Obstaja resna skrb, da bi takšna nejasna pooblastila lahko pripeljala do razglasitve vojnega stanja in delovanja vojske na območju celotne države.

Nova vlada, ki je svoj mandat začela 13. 3. 2020, je v komaj dveh tednih agresivno razširila svojo oblast. Zamenjala je generalno direktorico Slovenske policije in vodjo Obveščevalno-varnostne službe Ministrstva za obrambo, prav tako pa je bila odstavljena vodja vojaških sil. Tako je novi vladi uspelo vzpostaviti neposreden nadzor nad celotnim državnim varnostnim aparatom. Hitra menjava vodilnih kadrov v ključnih institucijah, onemogočanje dostopa novinarjem do tiskovnih konferenc in medijski napadi v času pandemije zahtevajo posebno pozornost in previdnost.

Medtem ko svet doživlja zdravstveno krizo in humanitarno katastrofo, slovenska vlada označuje boj proti pandemiji kot varnostno grožnjo. Posledično so pozvali k podelitvi policijskih pooblastil vojski na šengenski meji s Hrvaško. Prisotnost vojske na meji nominalno opravičujejo z omejitvijo pandemije, vendar pa bi ojačano delovanje vojske na meji dejansko služilo zgolj temu, da se ljudem še naprej onemogoča iskanje zatočišča in mednarodne zaščite znotraj Evropske unije.

Pričakovati je, da bo vojska nadaljevala z prestrezanjem oseb in izvajanjem nezakonitih izgonov (push-back) na Hrvaško. Po zaprtju balkanskega koridorja leta 2016 so postali izgoni običajna praksa slovenske policije. Od takrat je slovenska policija Hrvaški izročila več kot 16.000 ljudi, to pa počne s sistematičnim onemogočanjem pravice do azila in množičnim ponarejanjem uradnih postopkov. Hrvaške oblasti osebe nato deportirajo Bosno in Hercegovino (BiH), državo z omejenimi zdravstvenimi in nastanitvenimi zmogljivostmi. Med potekom izgona policija redno izvaja nasilje, zastrašuje in zasega vredno osebno lastnino izgnanih migrantov. Slovensko in hrvaško vlado, Evropsko ljudsko stranko (EPP) in Evropsko komisijo lahko imamo za neposredno odgovorne za možno humanitarno katastrofo v prenapolnjenih migrantskih taboriščih v BiH in Srbiji, če ne bodo zagotovljeni ustrezni preventivni ukrepi, dostojna nastanitev in spoštovanje pravice do varnosti za vse.

Aktivacija 37.a člena bi vojaškim silam dodelila pooblastila za delovanje proti civilnemu prebivalstvu. Med splošno javnostjo in pri opozicijskih strankah obstaja sum, da je “migrantska grožnja” zgolj izgovor vlade za poskus krepitve oblastnega položaja; vojska namreč že deluje kot pomoč policiji na meji. Odločenost vlade, da aktivira nepotrebni člen Zakona o obrambi, je tako vsekakor razlog za skrb.

Člani parlamentarne opozicije trenutno nimajo nobenega nadzora nad delovanjem obveščevalne službe SOVA in sprejemanjem ključnih odločitev vlade. Možnosti za nujno potreben nadzor ni. Za uveljavitev 37.a člena bo vlada potrebovala glasove opozicije, saj sta za aktivacijo potrebni dve tretjini glasov navzočih poslancev. Posledično se izvaja pritisk na člane opozicije, naj glasujejo v prid aktivaciji člena. Slovenska ljudska stranka, članica Evropske ljudske stranke, celo poziva h kazenskemu preganjanju poslancev, ki bi glasovali proti uveljavitvi spornega člena.

Novinarji, kritični do vlade, so izpostavljeni osebnim napadom in javnemu poniževanju, predsednik vlade pa javno blati poročanje nacionalnega medija RTV Slovenija. Novinarjem prav tako določen čas ni bilo dovoljeno prisostvovati na vladnih tiskovnih konferencah in neposredno postavljati vprašanj. V odziv na protest Društva novinarjev Slovenije je vlada sprva začela pošiljati pisne povzetke odločitev in vnaprej pripravljene splošne odgovore, s čimer je novinarjem onemogočila postavljanje dodatnih vprašanj med konferencami. Pod pretvezo varnosti je bil sprejet tudi zakon, ki med drugim omogoča neupoštevanje zakonskih rokov pri pridobivanju informacij javnega značaja.

V Sloveniji vlada več pozornosti namenja pripravljenosti vojske in policije ter varnosti in nadzoru prebivalstva kot pa obremenjenemu zdravstvenemu sistemu, zaradi katerega v bolnišnicah in domovih za ostarele primanjkuje zaščitne opreme. Prav tako zadostna oskrba ni zagotovljena brezdomcem in drugim ranljivim skupinam.

Predsednik vlade je pozval državljane k temu, da se prostovoljno včlanijo v vojsko, da bi pomagali v boju proti pandemiji. To je zaskrbljujoče, ker so skrajno desne paravojaške milice že nelegalno patruljirale na slovenski južni meji ter nadlegovale migrante in begunce. Možna vključitev teh skupin v vojsko s policijskimi pooblastili je nevaren korak k njihovi normalizaciji.

Človekove pravice, svoboda gibanja, svoboda govora in javni nadzor so demokratične vrednote, ki so jih evropske vlade in državljani dolžni spoštovati. V luči aktualne pandemije in njenih posledic ter rastočega evroskepticizma je nujno, da opozorimo na zaostrovanje politik strahu in demokratično nazadovanje, ki smo mu priča v Sloveniji in Evropski uniji. Vladne institucije bi morale zagotoviti zadostne ukrepe v obliki humanitarne pomoči in zdravstvenih storitev, ne pa spodbujati povečevanje represije.

Pozivamo Evropsko komisijo, Evropsko ljudsko stranko, Agencijo EU za temeljne pravice in ostale relevantne institucije, da pozorno spremljajo razvoj dogajanja v Sloveniji. Menimo, da zgoraj navedeni ukrepi in nameni vlade pod vodstvom stranke, ki je članica skupine Evropska ljudska stranka, nakazujejo, da bo po Madžarski Slovenija naslednja država, ki se bo odrekla spoštovanju temeljnih demokratičnih načel.

S spoštovanjem,

InfoKolpa, Border Violence Monitoring Network, Radio Študent, Are You Syrious? in Zdravniki za azilante

Kontakt za medije: 070 275 617

infokolpa@gmail.com

https://push-forward.org/

https://radiostudent.si

https://medium.com/@AreYouSyrious

https://www.borderviolence.eu

https://zdravniki4azilante.blogspot.com/2017/

Ljubljana 31. 3. 2020

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Subject: The Government of Slovenia's military response to a health emergency

Dear Ursula von der Leyen, Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, Michael O'Flaherty, and Donald Tusk,

the civil initiative InfoKolpa, Radio Študent, Border Violence Monitoring Network, Are You Syrious? and Doctors for Asylees would like to bring to attention the alarming steps taken by the government of Slovenia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government of Slovenia is abusing the pandemic to continue its politics of fear and discrimination against one of the most vulnerable populations in Europe - migrants and refugees stuck on the Balkan route. In Slovenia, the politics of fear have led to a campaign in the parliament to invoke the controversial Article 37.a of the Defence Act. Activation of the article would give the Slovenian army unclear jurisdiction for the »protection of the broader border« area. However, there is substantial concern that such indefinite military power would expand into martial law across the country.

The new Slovenian government has been in power since 13. 3. 2020 and has already aggressively expanded its rule. It replaced the heads of the police force and the ministry of defense's intelligence and security service (OVS) and dismissed the head of the armed forces. Thus, bringing the state security apparatus directly under its control. Rapid personnel shifts in crucial institutions, barring journalists from press conferences, and media attacks amidst the pandemic demand close attention and caution.

As the world is experiencing a health emergency and humanitarian catastrophe, the Slovenian government is labeling the fight against the pandemic as a security threat. Consequently, the government called to grant the army police jurisdiction on the Schengen border with Croatia. Army's presence at the border would nominally be for the containment of the pandemic. However, in practice, it would prevent people from seeking shelter and international protection in the European Union (EU).

We can expect that the army will continue with interception and illegal push-backs of migrants to Croatia. Push-backs have been a regular practice of the Slovenian police since the closure of the Balkan corridor in 2016. Since then, the Slovenian police have returned more than 16.000 persons to Croatia by systematically denying the right to asylum and falsifying official procedures. Croatian authorities further transport refugees to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), a country with limited healthcare and shelter capacities. During the push-backs, the police regularly use violence, intimidation, and theft. The Slovenian and Croatian governments, European People's Party (EPP), and European Commission (EC) can be considered as directly responsible for the ensuing humanitarian disaster in the overcrowded camps in BiH and Serbia.

The activation of Article 37.a would give the armed forces jurisdiction over civilians. There is widespread fear among the general public and parliamentary opposition that the "migrant threat" is just an excuse to broaden the government's hold on power, as currently, the army is already assisting border police. The determination of the government to activate an unnecessary article of the law is a cause for severe concern.

Members of the parliamentary opposition have no oversight over the national intelligence agency (SOVA) and other vital decisions. Possibilities for critical observation are missing. Article 37.a requires votes from the opposition. There is a pressure on members of parliament (MPs) to vote in favor of the article. The Slovenian People's Party (SLS), a member of EPP, is even considering criminal prosecution of opposition MPs who would not vote in favor of the article.

Journalists critical of the government are facing personal attacks and public humiliation while the prime minister denounces the reports of national broadcaster RTV Slovenia. For a time, journalists were not allowed to attend government press briefing and pose questions. As a response to the outcry of the Slovene Association of Journalists, the government first resorted to written-form briefings, offering pre-prepared answers, thus disabling journalists from directly asking questions and follow-up questions in real-time. Under the pretext of safety, a law was passed that enables the government to disregard the legal timeframe for providing information in the public interest.

In Slovenia, the government is more concerned with the capacity of the army and police, more concerned with security and population control than about the strained healthcare system. There is a lack of protective equipment in hospitals and nursing homes. Miserable care is provided to the homeless and other vulnerable persons.

The prime minister called for citizens to volunteer into the military to help with the efforts against the pandemic. It is an alarming sign since groups of far-right paramilitary militias were already illegally patrolling the southern border in search of migrants and refugees. Possible inclusion of these groups as military volunteers with police authority would be a dangerous step towards their normalization.

Human rights, freedom of movement, freedom of speech, and public oversight are democratic values European governments and citizens are obligated to uphold. In light of the current pandemic, its aftermath, and progressing Euroscepticism, it is crucial to warn against escalating politics of fear and democratic backsliding practiced by the Slovene government and EU. Our government institutions should provide proportional measures in forms of humanitarian and medical aid, and not increase repression.

We appeal to the EC, EPP, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, members of the LIBE committee and other relevant authorities to closely monitor developments in Slovenia. We feel that the motions mentioned above indicate that after Hungary, Slovenia will be the next member state that will leave the principles of democracy under the leadership of the government that is a member of the EPP.

Sincerely,

InfoKolpa, Border Violence Monitoring Network, Radio Študent, Are You Syrious? and Doctors for Asylees

Ljubljana 31. 3. 2020

(for further questions: infokolpa@gmail.com or 00 386 40 702 921)