The State has 30 days to lift restrictions or face fines. Why is there such a large group of people, who see issue with governmental measures, taking action to stop them? Does it show we don't agree on our collective approach? Does it show we don't agree on the threat level of COVID-19? Before you begin... Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this. COVID measures around the world have been a source for much debate around whether or not they are helpful in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and whether or not they are legal. Given the current state of our society, how it functions and how our economies work, lockdown measures essentially state that millions of everyday citizens in countries must forgo their wellbeing and financial standing to stop COVID all while huge corporations and banks make billions. Through the loss of rights and liberties we can see why COVID measures have been such a huge discussion with real implications for and against. What Happened: A court in Brussels ruled that all COVID-19 measures put in place by the government must be lifted within 30 days or fines will begin.
The ruling was based on the fact that there is no legal basis for these measures to be upheld. Click here to check it out! The League for Human Rights had filed a lawsuit weeks prior, challenging Belgium’s way of implementing the COVID measures using what are called ‘Ministerial Decrees,’ which means they were put in place without any discussion from parliament. “We believe that in view of the restrictions on fundamental freedoms imposed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, a debate in Parliament was essential, [...] While restrictions on these rights and freedoms may of course be made, given the importance of the issues at stake and the need to protect the rights to life and health of individuals, they must be fair and proportionate.” The League of Human Rights stated. As I opened this piece with, the argument here is that a holistic view of society is not being taken into consideration here, as everyday citizens ability to live life is bulldozed while big corporations are rewarded, further fuelling the ongoing discussion that government does not serve people but instead corporate interests.
The Belgian State now has 30 days to provide what law they believe they are abiding by or they must lift the measures. If they fail to provide a law and do not lift measures, they face a penalty of €5,000 per day, up to a maximum of €200,000.
The laws involved here are rather nuanced and complex. As of now, measures will stay in place as they are until the Interior Ministers office completes their review of the case.
The current measures are based on the Civil Safety Act of 2007, which allow the Belgian State to move quickly during “exceptional circumstances,” however, in this case the judge has ruled that the government cannot act from Ministerial Decrees while using these laws.
The State can appeal the decision, but an appeal would not suspend the execution of the judgment. Belgium’s Chamber is set to debate pandemic law, hoping that they can come to some sort of agreement around a more permanent legal basis for these types of society restrictions in the future. Why It Matters: As we’ve noted with other measures around the world, what happens in one country often creates a precedent or motivation for other countries to act as well. If the COVID-19 pandemic indeed is not as large a threat as being purported by mainstream dialogue, an idea that a great deal of science does align with, then the way to come to our societal senses here might be through grassroots legal action.
Then again, can we agree on how much of a threat COVID-19 really is? What would it take to do so? Are mainstream media and big tech, both who are censoring and ridiculing those with different perspectives, actually making coming to an agreement on the threat level of COVID-19 much worse? Are they welcoming a lack of trust in mainstream institutions by refusing to address science and perspectives that oppose the measures being taken?.
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