Albania: National security and the protection of human rights during emergency situations

Albania: National security and the protection of human rights during emergency situations

In 2020, the world came up against the COVID-19 pandemic which caused serious health and national crises. Managing the pandemic and its consequences became the priority issue for most governments across the globe. The majority of countries implemented temporary measures such as quarantine that limited certain civic rights. In particular, the freedom of movement and assembly were directly affected by governments’ responses to the pandemic.
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27 April 2021

The pandemic is responsible for excessive mortality rates globally.

In Albania, the COVID-19 pandemic is treated as a national (public) security threat, as it poses risks to the security and wellbeing of the population. This pandemic has demonstrated that the scope of what is understood to be included in national security must be expanded to encompass wider security threats such as environmental and global public health crises.

To limit the spread of the virus, the governments are empowered to take extraordinary measures that would temporarily limit human rights. However, democratic governments must be held accountable for any tradeoffs made in terms of civil liberties and human rights that are authorized in the name of national (public) security.

To better understand this dynamic, a research study was carried out in Albania to contextualize and compare country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic within a framework of national security and human rights perspectives. Furthermore, the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Albania is compared with other countries in the region, including Serbia, North Macedonia, Slovenia and Greece.

To that aim, the research was guided by four established democratic principles: legality; a bounded timeframe for emergency measures; necessity; and distributed power with legislative and judicial actions and checks on executive actions taken during the first six months of the pandemic.

  • Where does Albania stand in complying with the four established democratic principles?
  • What is the situation with the other countries?
  • Is any difference between the established democracies and hybrid regimes?
  • Which country complied with all the democratic principles and which are the main takeaways in managing such a crisis?

Other language versions

This resource is available in Albanian