Many bizarre developments going on now in Romania due to Coronavirus, but this one takes the cake: the population has just found out from France Presse agency that their government secretly suspended European Convention for Human Rights on March 17th, without any official notice issued.
Article 151 of the Convention allows such measures during wars or exceptional situations. Luckily for the population, a few key articles can’t be suspended in any circumstances and remain applicable, respectively those regarding the right to live and the interdictions for torture, slavery, and punishment without legal grounds.
More countries actually have just informed the European Court of Human Rights of the same decision, respectively Moldavia, Letonia and Armenia. We don’t know as of now if their citizens were made aware of this critical situation.
The Center for Judiciary Resources in Romania demands the adequate transparency from their government in a very critical press-release published on 20th Of March, noting that there have been several public appearances from government officials since the decision was made, and none of them mentioned this most important news. The Center quotes Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, who recently stated that “We must respect human rights and stand united against the coronavirus pandemic” and “Transparency and accessibility are central for enabling the public’s confidence and participation in the governance of the current circumstances. COVID-19 poses a serious danger. But with unity, determination to protect human rights and solidarity we will overcome it.”
As of now, Romanian officials are still quiet about this and most of the population remains unaware of the situation, as the Government tightens the lockdown.
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