COVID-19 measures must factor in fundamental human rights and the rule of law
24 April 2020
AIJA is profoundly concerned about the risk of violations of the principles of rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights arising from the adoption of certain emergency measures taken in order to address pandemic risks.
Emergency measures should be limited to what is strictly necessary, proportionate and temporary in nature, subject to regular scrutiny, and respect the aforementioned principles and international law obligations. They should not restrict the freedom of expression or the freedom of the press.
If the principles of the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights have been violated once, it may be extremely difficult to revert once the emergency situation is over.
AIJA commends the initiatives taken by several European countries and the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) to bring to the attention of policymakers and lawmakers at EU and national level some of the obvious threats to the rule of law:
- European Lawyers’ and Bars’ concerns over COVID 19 measure
- Statement from several European countries
AIJA urges all members and young lawyers around the world to actively safeguard and take personal actions as young professionals to defend the principles of the rule of law, human rights and democratic values during these challenging times.
AIJA recommends our members and young lawyers to take the following concrete measures:
- use existing mechanisms, especially judicial ones, to protect the above values,
- initiate discussions with your local bar associations about the importance of defence of human rights and rule of law in difficult times,
- contribute to defending these values in civil life.
AIJA is the only global association devoted to lawyers and in-house counsel aged 45 and under. Since 1962 AIJA provides outstanding international opportunities for young lawyers to network, learn and develop.
AIJA's Human Rights Committee supports the right of every lawyer to practice their profession freely. The committee supports the entitlement of every individual to legal representation and a fair trial, and the protection of the rule of law.