Regional developments in human rights and democratisation in South-East Europe during 2020

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Ivanović, Marija
Castiglioni, Edoardo
Dushi, Desara
Bellaadem, Imane
Henić, Ajla
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Global Campus Human Rights
In South-East Europe (SEE), as in other countries across the world, the year 2020 was marked by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and attempts by governments to respond to it. The implementation of measures to protect citizens’ health implied the introduction of states of emergency and strict lockdowns that, in many cases, resulted in the curtailing of human rights and further weakening of the rule of law. This article provides insights from four SEE countries — namely, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo — and analyses to what extent the introduced measures met the threshold of legality, legitimacy, necessity and proportionality. The main finding of this paper is that incumbents across SEE used the state of emergency to concentrate power in their own hands, while at the same time sidelining parliaments and the judiciary and depriving vulnerable groups of their basic human rights. In summary, regional governments fared rather poorly when it came to respecting citizens’ rights and freedoms, especially in two important aspects: the proportionality and necessity of imposed measures.
COVID-19 pandemic, Western Balkans, human rights, rule of law, democracy, South Eastern Europe, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo
Marija Ivanović, Edoardo Castiglioni, Desara Dushi, Imane Bellaadem and Ajla Henić. “Recent regional developments in human rights and democratisation in South-East Europe during 2020.” (2021) 5 Global Campus Human Rights Journal