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Ombudsman intervenes amid tensions in Magna Steyr case

01.09.2017 11:08
Category: work and news

Human Rights Ombudsman Vlasta Nussdorfer has intervened amid the growing tensions in the Magna Steyr case, strongly condemning the pressure being put on NGOs and civil society for challenging the environmental approval for car maker Magna Steyr to start building a paint shop near Maribor.

The media has been reporting violence, threats and attacks with the aim of influencing NGOs and environmentalists and prevent them from participating in the procedure of obtaining environmental approval, the ombudsman's office said on Friday.

"This sort of behaviour is a violation of the personal integrity and dignity of the individual who was the target of these attacks. It undermines the democratic legal regime, which was founded on cooperation between all interest groups and citizens in decision-making procedures," the office said.

It added that the right to a healthy living environment is a constitutional right and its implementation is essential for the health of individuals today and in the future. "This makes it even more important to ensure socially responsible behaviour from all those involved in the decision-making procedures related to interventions in the environment and public spaces."

The Ombudsman said that any restrictions in cooperation are unacceptable, so she expects that the competent authorities will respond to the threats and attacks made on NGOs and their members.

Nussdorfer's response comes as pressure has been increasing in environmental NGOs to refrain from challenging the environmental approval granted to the automotive giant for its planned paint shop near Maribor. Magna has been threatening with moving its investment to Hungary if permit procedures get protracted.

Environmental NGO Alpe Adria Green (AAG), which confirmed today it had challenged the environmental approval for car maker Magna Steyr to start building a paint shop, a move that could lead Magna to decide against building the plant in Slovenia, also condemned the pressures being put on NGOs.

It said that these were made by politicians, local bigwigs, chambers of commerce, trade unions, as well as Magna itself, which is threatening to move its investment to Hungary to prevent Slovenia from enforcing the rule of law and the Aarhus Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters.

Surce: STA

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