Italy’s Coronavirus Legislative Response: Adjusting Along the Way

With one of the highest death rate by population worldwide, Italy has undertaken a series of necessary but very intrusive measures resulting in strong limitations of fundamental rights and liberties. The Rule of Law (ROL) is considered to be “the basis of all genuine democracy” (Statute of the Council of Europe); and in times of emergency, respect for the ROL and adherence to its principles should still prevail. So, what safeguards have been put in place to ensure that the Italian legislative response to COVID-19 provides effective protection of public safety and complies with core Constitutional principles, international law obligations and the ROL?

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Fighting COVID 19 – Legal Powers and Risks: Italy

Particularly in the current month of March 2020, Italian authorities have enacted, and gradually intensified and extended, a lockdown on mobility, assembly and economic activities, currently encompassing the entire national territory. Such measures, unprecedented in democratic countries, have met praise by the World Health Organization. From a legal point of view, a vast array of legal instruments has been employed, and some have been crafted for this very occasion (for a complete list, see the references below). We focus here on national initiatives, but also Regions and Municipalities have employed their emergency powers, occasionally creating problems in coordination.

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The Holy Word does not come strictly in Italian – Another Islamophobic Law stopped in Northern Italy

The saga continues: again have regions in Italy governed by the right-wing party Lega Nord tried to use an administrative law to restrict the building of new mosques in the regions. This time, Veneto came up with something new: they made it mandatory to speak only Italian in religious buildings. But the Constitutional Court took a clear stance, for religious freedom and for the importance of language as a cultural good.

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