Did COVID Make it Worse? The pandemic and the enhanced threats against democratic freedoms
Panel formed with individual proposals.
COVID-19 has challenged people worldwide to comply with meticulous healthcare instructions. Can states harness enclave communities to comply with the law in such crucial times, even when compliance conflicts with communal norms? We investigated this question through the case of Israeli ultra-Orthodox schools compliance with COVID-19 regulations. Drawing on interviews with school principals, media analysis, and a field survey, we found that the state has the capacity to harness the cooperation of previously suspicious communities. At the same time, communal authorities were able to shield widespread defiance from legal enforcement. These findings expose the bidirectionality of legal socialization: As the community uses defiance to attenuate the law, it socializes public authorities to accede to their bounded authority. As the authorities realize that the community cannot be brought to full compliance, they curtail enforcement and socialize the community to operate outside the law.
COVID-19 has posed unprecedented challenge not only for health system, but also for legal system all over the world. This paper will analyze the legal challenges, North Macedonia has been facing because of COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, when the pandemic started, the Parliament of North Macedonia was dissolved and pre-term elections were called. The President of the Republic proclaimed state of emergency. The interim Government was challenged to respond efficiently to the pandemic and its consequences, by using minimal restrictions of human rights. The paper will analyze the issue of balancing the values of constitutionalism with the need of efficient measures to deal with the pandemic in North Macedonia. The taken measures will be analyzed from the point of their compliance with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. The paper will also assess the current measures adopted after the state of emergency and their influence on rule of law and democratic principles.
Local governments are more and more involved in the process of the protection of human rights, which is sometimes described as ‘glocalisation‘ of human rights law. This is also an aspect of a broader trend of engaging some of the cities in international law and policy. This trend is generally seen as an opportunity for human rights protection. The research question that the paper will attempt to answer is whether cities' involvement in human rights may be sometimes a threat to human rights? In this context a reference will be made to cities in Poland that have adopted resolutions designating them as “LGBT-free zones“, that grossly discriminate sexual minorities
The Chinese government‘s respond to COVID-19, described as timely and effective, has been at the center of a renewed debate on governance efficiency and protection of citizens‘ fundamental rights. Once again, we witnessed the historical opposition between liberal democracies and authoritarian regimes. Since the beginning of Xi Jinping regime in 2012, China entered a new era of reforms, ultimately theorized, last November, in the “Xi Jinping Thought on the rule of law“ and put in action by the “Plan for Building a rule-of-law China (2020-2025)“. The aim is to develop an indigenous principle of legality within the process of building a modern Socialism with Chinese characteristics. A new idea of the relationship between state and society is taking shape. Supervision, surveillance, security, social governance, self-government, rule of virtue and integrity are core issues of this new Chinese paradigm of a “country of rule of law, government of rule of law, society of rule of law“.
Extremists are using the Covid-19-pandemic to get attention. In Germany, the pandemic led firstly to an increase of hate crimes. The situation has become even more serious, especially due to the demonstrations of the lateral thinkers (“Querdenker“), where also right-wing extremists participated. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution classified the protests as an object of observation nationwide. Legally, this observation is possible if actors support efforts against the free democratic basic order. This is an expression of the principle of a militant democracy, which includes e.g. party and association bans. All legal possibilities share that they protect the free democratic basic order. An analysis of case law shows that a whole range of fundamental rights is covered. I will use some examples to show that the interpretation is currently too broad and will argue that a return to the basic idea of militant democracy is necessary.