The Protector of Citizens Zoran Pašalić was a guest in the show "Pulse of Serbia" on TV Kurir.
The deputy mayor of Belgrade, Goran Vesić, believes that the citizens who received the vaccine should start living somewhat more relaxed. From next week, Belgrade will enable everyone who is fully vaccinated to buy tickets for theater and festivals with a 30% discount. I will talk about the new measures and the rights of our citizens in these very specific circumstances, with my today's guest, the Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pašalić. Mr. Pašalić, welcome to the show. As we can see, these reliefs are a somewhat logical consequence in this very specific situation. Should people with the corona virus immunity, who have acquired it through vaccination, really enjoy more rights, and should they really relax at this point?
It would be better if you didn’t say what you said.
But I did say it, so I'm interested in your opinion.
Well, a question arises here that everyone will ask, and that is discrimination, which is regulated by Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides a framework for national legislation, including ours. Article 21 of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia regulates this area of non-discrimination, and Article 21 states that it is prohibited to discriminate on any grounds. Now, Article 2 of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination talks about what is to be considered discrimination.
And what are those grounds? You said on any grounds. Now, in this situation, are people who have been immunized, who received the vaccine, discriminated against, because maybe someone does not want to get the vaccine, so he is less responsible towards the corona virus pandemic, or is it the other way around, and the people who do not want to get the vaccine are discriminated against?
Article 2 of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination states that, as the Constitution says on any grounds, discrimination is any kind of favoritism or the act of putting someone in a disadvantageous position. Of any kind. The question now is whether this is an affirmative measure or discrimination. The essence here, and the thing that needs to be given thought, is that there are people in our society who are absolutely contraindicated for the vaccine. Or to be clearer, who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons. I am not an immunologist, I am not a doctor, so I will not list all the diseases and cases that exist, although I know them. And now one can ask the question, what happens with all those who want to be vaccinated, but cannot be vaccinated for health reasons, who are really not to blame for that. What is their status in all this? The essence is not for us to open a debate.
I assume that the status of people who are not eligible for vaccination, who cannot be vaccinated for certain medical reasons, could be resolved as, conditionally speaking, specific.
Until I see it, I won’t be able to say it.
But what happens to people, who absolutely can be vaccinated and do not want to be vaccinated? Are they discriminated against or are the people who decided to be responsible at this time and get vaccinated, to protect themselves and their environment, discriminated against?
That is exactly why I said that now there will be great interpretations about whether it is discrimination or an affirmative measure, which would affirm the vaccination procedure itself. I'm for vaccinations. I would not have vaccinated myself if I had been against it. But you have to leave it up to people to decide for themselves whether or not they will be vaccinated with certain consequences, which will occur. First of all, when we say consequences, I do not mean whether or not they will be able to buy theater or concert tickets at a better price, but consequences in terms of their health condition.
For example, Greece has announced that we can enter that country with a vaccination certificate, but also only with a PCR test. So, is Greece at this moment violating the rules by doing this?
Greece is not a good example.
I gave an example that is the most recent.
It may be the most recent, but it is not a good example. An example you want are those countries that, without any argumentation, favor certain vaccines. They say that they acknowledge these vaccines as such, as the ones with which they will let you enter or pass through their country, but that it does not apply to some other vaccines. Now the question arises on what basis did they make that decision and how can that be allowed? Israel has decided on the measure of complete affirmation of vaccination, and the results are that there is a very small number of patients and, what is even more significant, a smaller number of deaths, so now we can theorize about what is what. But that is not the essence. The essence is exactly why law exists. And that is to make people's lives easier, safer, and not to make it harder for people because of that legal norm, but to make their lives easier and better, which is exactly why that norm exists.
That was exactly what I asked. Should people who get vaccinated live more normally in these very specific times?
All people should live normally in these specific times.
We cannot under these circumstances.
We can, even under these circumstances, but what is important is to organize so that the majority or the largest majority, which very strictly adheres to the prescribed measures, does not suffer because of the irresponsible minority that does not adhere to them. Especially since that non-compliance with the measures is not a thing which would be called negligence in law, people do not do it accidentally, but on purpose. If someone opens a catering facility and works in it even though it is not allowed, he is very consciously violating the regulations. Why would all other caterers and everyone else, who might like to go to a restaurant or cafe, suffer the consequences because of that. Maybe it is not up to the Protector of Citizens to talk about fines now, but why not, since the Protector of Citizens protects the interests of all citizens from irresponsible individuals, but I think that these measures that exist now, these fines that now exist, should be made differently. There should be a clear distinction, not between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, but between those who adhere to the measures, no matter how severe the consequences for their work, their lives, the lives of their families, and those who knowingly violate the measures, whether they are those who organize or those who visit.
And do you think that there are people who maybe respect all the prescribed measures but have not yet been vaccinated and who are endangered, or maybe there is a group of people who have been vaccinated, and then relaxed too much, so they do not respect some measures? Whose rights are then compromised?
I have always been in favor of society not being divided on any grounds. And especially not to be divided in crisis situations. And this is one of, let us say, major crises that have gripped our society, and the world globally. But I am primarily interested in our citizens, I am not very interested in what is happening in other countries. So, we should not make any divisions, we should simply bring in measures according to the advices of the medical profession, but they should not be such to hurt us or to bother the largest number of people who adhere to them. You can't really ask if now there are those who don't want to be vaccinated, but strictly adhere to the measures, and in what position are such persons now? Second, first, third? All those divisions, I was never for them.
To us, the measures are as they are and it seems to me that they are not selective. They are prescribed as they are and should be respected. Thank you for visiting.