Seliga: Gov't Not Trampling on Rights by Declaring State of Emergency

Seliga: Gov't Not Trampling on Rights by Declaring State of Emergency

Bratislava, October 1 (TASR) – The Government has declared the state of emergency without trampling on fundamental rights and freedoms, House Vice-chair Juraj Seliga (For the People) declared on Thursday.

Seliga responded this way to statements made by opposition Smer-SD leader Robert Fico, who maintains that the state of emergency stands in breach of the Slovak Constitution, as the Government allegedly failed to specify which human rights it is restricting.

Seliga pointed out that with the state of emergency, the Government is only pursuing the option to enable economic mobilisation, which doesn’t limit anyone’s right to assemble.

According to Seliga, the declaration of the state of emergency is in full compliance with the law. “Paradoxically, the Government is protecting the people’s rights by declaring a general state of emergency,” he stated at a press conference. “No one is banning anyone from protesting, even against the Government of Igor Matovic,” claimed Seliga, adding that protesters must observe measures passed by the Office of Public Health, however.

Under the state of emergency, district authorities are enabled to respond operatively to developments in their regions, said Seliga.

The House Vice-chair warned that Fico is dangerously misleading the public with claims that the Government has declared the state of emergency in an incorrect way and that it is afraid of the people, which is why it is supposedly restricting their human rights.

If the Government won’t heed his call, annul the state of emergency and re-declare it again, with clear reasons and elucidations as to which rights are to be restricted, Fico plans to challenge the state of emergency in the Constitutional Court.

Earlier in the day, Fico stated that the Government’s decision on the state of emergency was the epitome of ‘might-makes-right’ and he considers it to be unqualified and unconstitutional. He says that the decision on the declaration of the state of emergency adopted on Wednesday (September 30) wasn’t passed in line with the rules of procedure. A state of emergency is declared on the basis of the constitutional law on state security, which says that human rights may be restricted to a certain extent.

“As the Government said nothing, does that mean that all human rights that are in the constitutional law are automatically restricted? Or is it not possible to restrict any? Do we know or do we not know, for example, whether the right to strike is restricted?” asked Fico.

He therefore wants the Government to declare the state of emergency again with defined rules. He also criticised its declaration for 45 days and asks why it is declared for the whole territory of the country and not just for areas with local outbreaks of the novel coronavirus.