Coronavirus Bill: Liberty responds to “drastic reimagining of state powers”
Posted on 18 Mar 2020
While the challenges that COVID-19 present are significant and we need to adapt, the checks and balances that keep us safe must remain intact.
Responding to the Government’s emergency Conronavirus Bill, Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty, said:
“We’re facing a public health crisis like never before and in times of national upheaval, it’s essential we remain vigilant to any watering down of rights or overbearing restrictions on civil liberties. Not only would such an approach negatively impact those of us who are most at risk, it sets a dangerous precedent. We must not allow the hollowing out of human rights to become the go-to for the Government when it’s in a crisis.
“The changes they are suggesting are not tweaks, they are a drastic reimagining of state powers. These include greater powers of police detention for all of us, and for those of us who have mental health issues, or rely on health and social care, there’s a move to lower standards and cancel vital safeguards.
“Substantial changes must come with a solid commitment that these measures will be regularly scrutinized, that there is a clear and guaranteed time limit and that they will be used proportionately.
“While the challenges that COVID-19 present are significant and we need to adapt, the checks and balances that keep us safe must remain intact. Liberty will be watching the progress of this Bill carefully and analyzing the impact this has not only on individuals but to the very fabric of our human rights framework and the social safety net.”
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