14 April 2020 Statement of the President of the Republic, H.E. Ilir Meta
I welcome the position of the Council of Europe on the necessity to protect democracy, pluralism, the rule of law and human rights in the context of the COVID-19 sanitary crisis.
As the Council of Europe rightly points out: “This virus is destroying many lives and many other precious things for us, but we must not allow it to destroy our fundamental values and our free societies.”
The actions and measures taken by governments, to restrict the right of privacy, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression and freedom of association, attract the attention the Council of Europe, should be decided only by law, in proportion to the risks and as long as it is necessary for health protection.
It is important that any restrictive measure and new law must be in accordance only with the Constitution and the general public and national interest.
I support the position on avoiding, as much as possible, the imposition of severe criminal penalties for non-compliance with restrictive measures, as the Council of Europe emphasizes they raise serious concerns about the respect for human rights.
Inviting all citizens to strictly observe all guidelines and restrictions made public due to global pandemic, I emphasize the necessity to respect the principles of democracy and the rule of law, the Constitution and the hierarchy of applicable laws and international conventions.
Because, as the Council of Europe underlines: “The challenge facing our societies today is an unprecedented challenge. Even after the urgent phase of this crisis, our societies will have to find ways to put social and economic damage in place and to further increase confidence in our democratic institutions. It is necessary to start a broad reflection on the protection of the most vulnerable individuals and groups in our societies and on the ways of protecting their rights in a more sustainable and solidary model of governance ”.