Annual Report 2022
We published an overview of our work in 2022. All together, we carried out 30 projects, an amount comparable to previous years, along with a research programme Equality and Human Rights in an Era of Global Governance.
For over two years, since October 2020, the NGOs at 6 Metelkova Street in Ljubljana have been successfully resisting the Ministry of Culture’s plans to have us removed from the premises where we have been working for more than a quarter of a century. This attack was the previous government’s attempt to harm organisations defending human rights, equality, and freedom of creation. Our resistance has been supported with petitions signed by over 10,000 individuals and organisations from Slovenia and abroad, and we have also had to seek justice in court. Today, this story is slowly coming to a close with results that are not quite as expected, but in dialogue with the Ministry, which has once again been possible after the change of power last June.
The previous government’s political attacks were not targeted only on Metelkova 6—though it never made secret the fact that it was particularly irked by the work of the Peace Institute there—but it also systematically barraged other independent institutions and critical voices. A look back at 2022 reminds us how fragile democracy and the rule of law can be when people with authoritarian tendencies assume power. But it also reminds us of the strength of civil society and the citizens who protected democracy and overwhelmingly said no to authoritarian politicians in the elections on 24 April 2022. This has earned Slovenia a major boost to its international profile, while the methods of civil society are being emulated by activists in other countries, especially in Eastern Europe.
The Peace Institute’s criticism of the previous government does not mean we will allow the current one to do a bad job. Within the civic initiative Voice of the People [Glas ljudstva] we are monitoring the implementation of the pre-election commitments the political parties made professionally backed policies. With the aim to depoliticise public television and radio, we participated in last year’s referendum campaign on the amendment to the RTV Slovenija Act, which was overwhelmingly supported by the voters.
The stories of Zoran Tešanović and Mirjana Učakar, from whom we sadly said goodbye last year, also testify to the fragility and strength of the rule of law and democracy. They had both been unlawfully erased from the Register of Permanent Residents in 1992 and had suffered heavy consequences to their last day. With our help, Zoran Tešanović managed to establish temporary residence in Slovenia only five years ago and lived in a caravan on the outskirts of Ljubljana until his death. After the initial shock of her erasure, Mirjana Učakar became an activist and fought until her untimely death to right the wrongs done to those who were erased. Rest in peace.
The decline of democracy, the media crisis, the spread of hate speech and misinformation, the platformisation of work, the radicalisation of youth, militarisation, discrimination against marginalised groups, violent masculinities; all these are problems facing today’s society that we have been exploring at the Peace Institute over the past year. Our public action has striven to bring about positive change in society. All together, we carried out 30 projects, an amount comparable to previous years, along with a research programme Equality and Human Rights in an Era of Global Governance. We also carried out several studies and many other activities, such as the programme to host Ukrainian peacekeeper Yuri Shelyazhenko at our Institute.
We are particularly pleased that the successful acquisition of new projects and the securing of stable funding under the Law on Scientific Research and Innovation have been opening up new opportunities for the Institute’s development. This will be in line with the strategic development programme adopted last August, which sets out objectives and indicators in the areas of scientific excellence, science communication and societal impact, staff development, and research infrastructure improvement. We continue to create an excellent scientific research institution that offers our staff the best working conditions.