5 May - Give us back our freedom
Today is 5 May and we "celebrate freedom". Freedom for which our ancestors fought, but which is under severe pressure worldwide during the Corona crisis.
In the Netherlands too, numerous human rights and democratic gains have been drastically curtailed in recent weeks, including:
- freedom of movement
- the right to demonstrate
- freedom of association and assembly
- the right to privacy and the right to domestic security
- the right to education, sport and recreation
- the right to cash payment
- access to regular healthcare
- medical confidentiality
The necessity, proportionality and legal tenability of many of these restraints can now be seriously questioned. Moreover, their enforcement is likely to be arbitrary.
Instead of repealing the temporary emergency ordinances, some of these freedom-restricting measures are now at risk of being enshrined in legislation. A "temporary" emergency law is now ready for parliamentary consideration to this end. History shows that such emergency legislation often becomes permanent in times of crisis. Supreme vigilance in and outside our parliament is therefore now called for.
Not infrequently, crises are abused by governments to greatly increase their power vis-à-vis the population and push through previous agendas. Draconian legislation is now threatening to be rushed through parliament at an accelerated pace, including the successor to the illegal System Risk Indication (SyRI): the new Collaborative Data Processing Act (WGS), or "Super SyRI". Recently, the medical records of millions of Dutch citizens, without their consent, have become widely accessible in healthcare ("Corona opt-in"). Work is under way to develop "Corona apps" that will lead to false security and mass surveillance. Wob requests around Corona are no longer answered by the government.
Especially in times of crisis, a population should be able to trust the government. And it is precisely in times of crisis that our Constitution and human rights should be protected. The way the government is now taking rigid measures under the guise of crisis policy is worrying. If this attitude is a harbinger of "the new normal" envisaged by our government, we will have to fight a new battle for our freedom immediately after the fight against Corona.
Liberation 75 years ago marked the return of open society and the democratic rule of law. This 5 May, it is more important than ever not only to look at freedoms fought for in the past, but to be aware of the battle for our freedom being fought right now. So that we can pass on this freedom, and not have to fight for it again.
Privacy First Foundation
Civil Rights Platform
Also published on https://platformburgerrechten.nl/2020/05/05/geef-ons-onze-vrijheid-terug/.