The Peace Institute newsletter
The situation we have found ourselves in because of measures for prevention of Covid-19 virus epidemic raises the question of whether we have thus embarked on a more totalitarian and unequal society, or whether we will be able to use the crisis to strengthen democracy and solidarity in social relations. In order to protect the most vulnerable groups of the population, governments have radically restricted fundamental rights and freedoms, closed borders and implemented strict control of citizens. Even if we accept such measures to be urgent, we must by no means accept them as normal. In these times, the systems of informing the public are particularly important, providing access to credible information, enabling free, critical and responsible operation of the media, and setting the requirements for high standards of public communications, especially for those with decision-making powers. Governments have also curtailed the functioning of the capitalist economy and started taking measures to help the economy and the affected population, and certain governments, like Slovenian for example, are trying to use the crisis to simultaneously put in place repressive policies against migrants by sending troops to the borders. The pandemic has however shown that the military or the profit-based economy will not save us from the virus, but rather healthcare, mutual support and care, and self-supply, that is, activities devalued as marginal, unproductive, feminized and underpaid in ‘normal times’. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has stated that during these times, we have no choice but to protect all people, every individual, from Covid-19. We therefore appeal to the Slovenian Government to grant the status to all migrants, the erased, the homeless and other registered and unregistered residents of Slovenia, similar to the Portuguese model, providing them with access to health services and social rights, jobs, and housing. May the present crisis not only be an opportunity for restriction and militarization, but also for the elimination of inequalities in society. Let’s consider setting up a society that doesn’t leave anyone behind.
Peace Institute staff