A report from Civil Liberties Union for EuropeA human rights group in 18 European Union (EU) countries has said that measures taken by governments to counter the pandemic have weakened democracy.
The group investigated and documented threats against journalists, restrictions on freedom of protest, and undermining the freedom of the judiciary.
Here The whole Of the report (in English, 2.64 MB).
The investigation concludes that governments have taken extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of the disease, but that many have nothing to do with the public health crisis and that the rule of law has consequences.
“The pandemic has become a severe test of the rule of law and human rights. To protect public health, governments have taken steps to restrict fundamental freedoms. To allow for immediate action, many governments have declared a state of emergency”, The document says.
There have been numerous concerns that Eastern European governments are abusing these rights. Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia used the pandemic to strengthen their power and limit criticism of the government.
“Governments in dictatorial countries, such as Poland and Slovenia, have taken advantage of this to push for controversial legislation. The fact that many of the control measures taken during the Emergency did not go away after the end of the Emergency is an indication of the government’s tool to change civil liberties and democratic participation. ”.
The report also sheds new light on the impending threats to countries with strong democratic partnerships, such as France, Germany, Ireland and Sweden.
“People’s freedoms, including the right to protest, have been curtailed in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, and legislation has often been subject to expeditious procedures. ”Says the group. He had these extraordinary actions Limited executive oversight and limited the potential for civil society to engage in the political process“.
The report warns of a growing hostile atmosphere for journalists in Spain and Italy, as well as growing obstruction of protests and the arbitrary arrests of protesters in France, Croatia and Bulgaria.
In Hungary, the Prime Minister can now rule by order.
In Germany, police cracked down on protesters who opposed social detachment laws, but in Ireland, authorities did not respond to privacy concerns surrounding a tracking application.
“Discussions on adoption of data tracking applications and other regulatory measures to monitor compliance is a prime example of poor quality legislation. “Says the group.
“No EU country is immune from threats to democracy., Concludes.