23 March 2020

ECNL/ICNL guidelines: “Keeping civic space healthy: Saving lives & human rights”

In emergency situations, governments must act quickly to prevent escalation. Most constitutions provide executive bodies with extraordinary competences, when a state of emergency has been declared. COVID-19 is clearly one of these crisis situations where lengthy debates and procedures may be deemed undesirable. But checks and balances are there to protect our democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

Yuval Noah Hariri rightly warned us that we must consider the long-term consequences of our action today. Governments may temporarily restrict parliamentary rights and civil liberties in order to face the global health threat of the coronavirus pandemic. However, in doing so, they should always act in accordance with international human rights law.

The European Centre for Not-for-profit Law (ECNL) and the International Centre for Not-for-profit Law (ICNL) have jointly issued guidelines that governments should follow. In their briefing “Keeping civic space healthy: Saving lives & human rights”, these organisations provide six do’s and don’ts for governments to consider when they seek to save lives in accordance with human rights standards and obligations.


Provided by PA team