President Warns Against Abuse of History
President Danilo Türk warned against abusing historical wrongs for the purposes of concealing present-day human rights violations as he penned a message ahead of the 23 August day of remembrance for the victims of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes.
"Respect for the victims of war and totalitarian violence must be just that - memory of the dead and realization about the fragility of human life in the face of terrible death," he said in a message released on Saturday.
Past wrings must be rectified to the maximum possible extent; all dead have the right to a grave and all the living who had been unjustly wronged have the right to rectification of injustice and appropriate compensation, according to the president.
But, he warned, human rights "have to be respected here and now. Condemnation of past human rights violations is justified, but it may not serve to conceal present-day human rights violations."
Expanding on that, he added that efforts should be made to prevent "elements of authoritarian and even totalitarian practice from becoming native in our politics. We have to respond to all cases of systematic human rights violations and intolerance to those who are different with utmost sensitivity."
Turning to the government, Türk accused it of "attempting to control civil-society or independent institutions such as universities and cultural institutions," which should be "decisively rejected".
Slovenia needs a civil society and stronger awareness of the importance of independent institutions and responsible democratic practice. "This forms society's immune system and strengthening it is the best way to pay homage to the victims of 20th century totalitarian and authoritarian regimes," he said.
The victims of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes are commemorated in Europe on 23 August in line with a 2009 European Parliament resolution on European conscience and totalitarianism. Slovenia formally declared it a memorial day with a government decree two weeks ago.
A remembrance ceremony will be held on 27 August in a nunnery in Mekinje, organized by the government-founded Study Centre for National Reconciliation.