States of Emergency
13 Pages Posted: 27 May 2020
Date Written: May 26, 2020
From 6 April to 26 May 2020, the Verfassungsblog and Democracy Reporting International Symposium reported on states of emergency and measures taken in response to COVID-19 in 74 countries, analysing legal measures and the use of emergency powers which impact nearly 80% of global population.The fifty days of the Symposium covered the height of the global legal reaction to the pandemic, offering a snapshot of countries in collective crisis. It began with a call for a global conversation on the kind of legal norms which should govern the situation of worldwide pandemic. This final contribution aims to trace the central themes, questions and issues raised by the Symposium. It considers constitutional safeguards on a ‘state of emergency’, and whether this is preferable to the use of ordinary legislation in managing a crisis. It examines the dangers of executive action, and whether countries have been successful in limiting the potential for abuse, as well as preventing or sanctioning it. It examines how states have struggled to maintain some degree of legislative and judicial normality, while other states have given it up entirely. It considers the relevance of trust and transparency of government action, and the concerns related to an approach driven by surveillance and sanction. Finally, it identifies the most successful approaches adopted, and the most detrimental. In doing so, it aims to form part of that global conversation which seeks to identify the most concerning legal developments in a global emergency, but also to advocate for the best practices emerging worldwide.
Analysis is drawn from country reports and commentaries available at Verfassungsblog,
The countries reports cover: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine, United States of America, Venezuela, Vietnam
Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, democracy, human rights, rule of law, surveillance, sanction, militarisation, judiciary, executive power, emergency power, state of emergency, activism, derogation, law, judicial review, emergency powers, elections, health law, constitutionalism
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