Slovenia
03.11.20
Urgent Interventions

Harassment and threat of eviction of the Peace Institute and 17 other NGOs

URGENTAPPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

SVN 001/ 1120 / OBS 121
Threat of eviction /
Harassment
Slovenia

November 3, 2020

The Observatory for the Protectionof Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation AgainstTorture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the followingsituation in Slovenia.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed byreliable sources about the harassment and threat of eviction of the PeaceInstitute and 17 other NGOs operating at No. 6 Metelkova Street in Ljubljana,which all engage in independent cultural production and defending human rights,media freedom and the environment, and who have resided at this address forover two decades[1].

According to the informationreceived, on October 19, 2020, the organisations working at No. 6 MetelkovaStreet received a proposal for an amicable termination of the lease from thebuilding manager of the Ministry of Culture of Slovenia, as well as an order tovacate the state-owned building by January 31, 2021.

Furthermore, the organisations wereinformed that the eviction would be judicially enforced at the organisation’sexpenses in case they failed to comply with the eviction order. According tothe Ministry of Culture, the reason for the termination of the lease is theneed to renovate the building. However, the Ministry of Culture has not offeredany alternative accommodation to the tenants, nor has it entered into dialoguewith or consulted them, in contravention with international standards relatingto forced evictions[2]. Moreover, the news was received on the same day that a curfew was declared inresponse to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the only public building inSlovenia dedicated by the Ministry of Culture to independent, cultural,artistic and research organisations, it is home to many important NGOs that aredesignated as operating in the public interest.

The Observatory condemns these actsof harassment against the Peace Institute and the other NGOs residing at No. 6Metelkova Street in Ljubljana, and calls upon Slovenian authorities to ensurethat the aformentioned organisations, and any civil society organisation inSlovenia, can carry out their legitimate human rights activities withouthindrances.

Actions Requested:

Please write to the Slovenianauthorities to urge them to:

i. Retract the eviction order on No. 6 Metelkova Street (Ljubljana), as inits current form it is likely to prevent the above-mentioned NGOs fromexercising their legitimate and peaceful human rights activities, and guaranteein all circumstances the right to freedom of association in the country. As aminimum, ensure that the eviction is carried out in compliance withinternational standards on forced evictions, and that an alternativeaccommodation is provided to the evicted organisations where they can continueto carry out their work;

ii. Comply in all circumstances with theprovisions of international human rights law governing forced evictions, inparticular Article 11 (1), read in conjunction with Article 2 (1), of theInternational Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the applicationof which was clarified by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rightsin its General Comments Nos. 4 and 7;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment-including at the administrative and judicial level- against theabove-mentioned NGOs as well as all human rights defenders in Slovenia, and ensure in all circumstances that they areable to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear ofreprisals;

iv. Conform in all circumstances withthe provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted onDecember 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular itsArticles 1, 5 and 12.2;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respectfor human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Slovenianconstitution and international human rights instruments ratified by Slovenia.

Addresses:

· Mr. BorutPahor, President of the Republic of Slovenia, Email: gp.uprs@up-rs.si

· Mr. JanezJanša,Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Email:gp.kpv@gov.si

· Mr. Aleš Hojs,Minister of Interior of the Republic of Slovenia, Email: gp.mnz@gv.si

· Mr. Vasko Simoniti,Minister of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Email: gp.mk@gov.si

· Mr. Darja Bavdaž Kuret, Permanent Representative to the UN, Email: slovenia(at)un.int

· Permanent Representation of Slovenia in EU, Email: slomission.eu@gov.si

Please also write to the diplomaticrepresentations of Slovenia in your respective countries.

***

Geneva-Paris, November 3, 2020

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of thisappeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (theObservatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture(OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedysituations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are bothmembers of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented byinternational civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel OMCT + 41 22 809 4939

· Tel FIDH + 33 (0) 1 4355 25 18

[2] Contained in particular in Article 11 (1), read in conjunction withArticle 2 (1), of the InternationalCovenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The application of these articles to forced evictionswas clarified by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in its General Comment n°4 : The Rightto Adequate Housing (Art. 11 (1) of the Covenant) of 1991 andGeneral Comment n°7 : The right to adequate housing (art. 11 (1) of the Covenant): Forced evictions of 1997.

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