Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference takes place only in a remote mode

Accepted Abstracts

Session I. Democracy and political rights under lockdown

Emilio Meyer and Tímea Drinóczi: Transitioning From the COVID-19 Pandemic: Political and Legal Accountability for Times of Emergency
Comparatively, jurisdictions diverged in the ways they responded to the COVID-19 pandemic using (or absenting from it) constitutional and legal measures. The different statutes, executive orders and public policies touched upon not only the right to health but upon other fundamental rights, and also had consequences on the way by which the three branches are connected with citizenship and the civil society. COVID-19 fighting measures became a true constitutional matter, projecting effects that shall endure in time even if the pandemic is controlled.
In the last one and half years many articles, blogs, books, webinars and conferences have discussed the different implications of the pandemic. They have provided various types of accounts of the emergencies introduced by states, how the effects of the pandemic have been mitigated, the intersectional implications of the emergency measures, the imbalance emergencies brought into the constitutional system, just to mention some of the topics.

Nevertheless, the issue of political and legal accountability of the three branches of government for damages done during the emergency seems to be understudied. This paper aims at checking this political and legal accountability comprehensively, and from a comparative perspective. It intends to answer to the question of to what extent transitional measures can be used in the changes from an era of pandemic. Therefore, it aims at presenting the different constitutional and legal consequences of the transitions from the pandemic times towards regular situations. It will investigate, from comparative jurisdictions, but mainly from Hungary and Brazil, cases in which civil and political liberties were suspended or restricted or other fundamental rights were limited. Also, it will debate the way by which executive underreach was experienced and how it has led to a high level of infection and deaths. The main idea is to show how states and policymakers do or not comply with rule of law when leaving in the past emergency politics – in terms of applying the measures of political and legal accountability. In this sense, one can think of transitional justice measures that include procedures for accountability, reparations, access to truth or/and institutional reforms.

Max Steuer: Life or Survival, What Comes First? Fundamental Rights and Slovak Parliamentary Debates on Emergency Legislation
As one of its many effects, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the limitations of (textual readings of) existing legal frameworks that often did not consider a health crisis as having potentially major impact on the functioning of the key state institutions. Flexible solutions were sought after early on after the outbreak in 2020, with the protection of public health becoming the priority goal for political elites and the public alike. This paper builds on the framework provided by Rossiter’s and Schmitt’s concepts of dictatorship in a constitutional context and Agamben’s distinction between life and survival, both cautioning against the absolutization of the protection of particular interests (such as public health) regardless of the costs generated by rights restrictions. Considering the centrality of parliaments for contemporary democracies, it investigates how selected constitutional dilemmas pertaining to the policy response to the COVID-19 outbreak were discussed by parliamentarians in relation to emergency legislation. It does this via the case of Slovakia, an EU democracy that has introduced some of the heaviest rights restrictions in Spring 2020, initially praised as a global success. The contextual analysis of Slovak parliamentary deliberations centers on (1) the modification of the Slovak Constitution that allowed the prolongation of health emergencies by the executive with parliamentary approval and (2) the amendments that enabled the introduction of a COVID-19 contact tracing app with a potential to subject citizens returning to Slovakia from abroad to mandatory state-endorsed surveillance. These two types of debates are pivotal for understanding what values the parliamentarians prioritized in their understandings of the new legislation and its implications for constitutionalism. The findings indicate that, particularly in the early stages of the pandemic, fundamental rights were pushed into the background over societal public health considerations, that were connected primarily to security and effectiveness rather than the right to health. Moreover, extreme political actors became outspoken critics of the public health-based framing of the emergency, utilizing references to fundamental rights. Thus, the deliberations represent a missed opportunity by democratic legislators to establish an inherent connection between the expected democratic output of protecting public health and fundamental rights as the lifeblood of democracy. The failure to prevent a more significant outbreak of the virus after Slovakia’s initial success points to the costs of the unilateral emphasis on human survival instead of an equal consideration for lives of humans as political beings endowed with own agency and societal responsibility.

Keywords: COVID-19, states of emergency / extraordinary situations, parliamentary debates, surveillance, Slovakia, dictatorship (Schmitt / Rossiter)

Agnieszka Bień-Kacała: Limiting political rights during COVID-19 pandemic in illiberal constitutionalism. The case of Poland
In March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic started to affect Polish reality. The reality has been built by populists’ rulers who have transformed the constitutional system into illiberal constitutionalism. The new system tends to deteriorate democracy, abuse the rule of law and misuse human rights. Considering the illiberalization of human rights, certain groups of people are targeted mainly by rulers: political opponents, the LGBTQ+ community, women, and migrants. Such trends are also present during crises. This paper will focus on the abuse of emergency states, second on the most targeted groups of people, and third on political rights that were threatened by emergencies.

When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, there was a presidential election ordered on May 2020. Applying constitutional emergency would have caused the delay of the election and possible loss of power by the President supported by the ruling majority. Therefore, the Government decided to invent a new extra-constitutional emergency (state of epidemic) that allowed to hold the election and suppress the electoral rights of its opponents. The ban on assemblies was introduced and abused several times to defeat protests (e.g. women against abortion ban). This hybrid emergency that extracted political effects from a technical factor (A. Vedaschi) is still effective.

In the second half of 2021, a new crisis occurred as a result of Afghan events. The Polish Government wrongly applied the constitutional rules and introduced a constitutional emergency. The emergency is not adequate to the threat; it targets migrants directly, violates their rights and freedoms, but it is also aimed in the violation of freedom of information of Poles as media are not allowed in the emergency area. However, the emergency is used to show the effectiveness of the Polish authorities in fighting illegal migration that makes them popular even if they fail to comply with the EU law and may not receive a recovery fund due to the continuous breaches of EU law.

The paper’s conclusion is drawn on the broader perspective of illiberalization of human rights within illiberal constitutionalism. The COVID-19 pandemic is a factor that the Polish rulers exploited to limit the political rights of certain groups of Poles. The migration crisis of 2021 shows that such behaviour was not accidental.

Mykola Polovyi: The lockdown as a booster for authoritarian turn: from the perspective of model of political density
The aim of the presentation is to assess the variation of density of politics during the lockdown on the data of Ukraine. The author’s model of political density argued the theoretical possibility of increasing authoritarian tendencies under the conditions of growing political density, defined as the ratio of the quantity of political-communicative transaction acts and a number of active political actors. According to the model steep increase of political density amidst a decrease in the quantity of active political actors leads either to the growth of authoritarian tendencies or to a political crisis. Ukrainian data 2020-2021 shows that in conditions of lockdown’s restrictions of mass “off-line” actions the first alternative prevailed. It is showed that the conditions of Covid-19 lockdown NGO’s and other independent public actors based on public support, wind up their activity due to the restrictions of usual (“off-line”) public activity. Such actor’s activity recession at the condition of retention of “before-Covid” quantity of political-communicative transactions leads to growing the density of politics. Moreover, the intrinsic growth of political density leads authorities to further authoritarian-minded consolidation in front of the perceived danger of the political crisis. The main indicators of the authoritarian turn in 2020-21 (by Ukrainian data) are:
– the increase of the quantity of political communicative acts amidst decrease of actors number;
– the increase of the quantity of controversial decisions of authorities was not accepted by society but nonetheless remained in force.
Joanna Rak: Social Consent to Implement Anti-democratic Solutions? The Baltic States Democracies Under Lockdown
To what extent the political nations of the Baltic States accepted anti-democratic measures implemented during the Corona crisis? Under what conditions? How did it influence their political sovereignty? This study is theoretically embedded in research on contemporary militant democracy. It is a comparative analysis of the use of self-defense mechanisms of democracy during the pandemic in Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. The research goals are to determine what anti-democratic measures were implemented to shape the sovereignty of the political nations and which served the governments to either strengthen or undermine that sovereignty. The major arguments are that although neo-militant democracy goals prevailed in the Baltic states’ pre-pandemic political and legal structures, the pandemic-induced measures resulted in variation. In Estonia, the limitations of political rights put the sovereignty of the political nation at risk. At the same time, in Lithuania and Latvia, the sovereignty of the political nations was not endangered. In Estonia, the electoral successes and increase in support for the extreme-right political party EKRE determined the drift from neo- towards quasi-militant democracy. In Lithuania and Latvia, the extreme groupings did not gain comparable support and an anti-democratic turn did not take place.
Maciej Skrzypek: Smart Quarantine vs. Strict Lockdown: Restrictions of Political Rights in Czech Anti-Pandemic Strategies
The paper aims to determine the evolution of the attitude of the state authorities to the restrictions of fundamental political rights in the Czech Republic during the coronavirus pandemic from March 2020 to May 2021. At that time, the Czech authorities decided to change the strategy for limiting inter alia political rights. During the second wave of the pandemic, the Czech authorities replaced Smart quarantine with a strict lockdown, and over time, introduced an extra-constitutional state of emergency. These changes were aimed at extending the scope of the executive power of the government, especially the Minister of Health, who was dependent on the Prime Minister (PM). Second, the PM tried to govern by ignoring the parliament. Moreover, the change of strategy led to an increase in the implementation of quasi-militant democracy instruments. The latter rested on the limitation of fundamental political rights that undermined the sovereignty of the political nation. The paper accounts for the circumstances of those decisions and their consequences for the functioning of the Czech democracy. The study draws upon qualitative analysis of sources (legal acts, media content, and NGOs reports) and the method of process tracing to verify the hypothesis that the protection and exercise of fundamental political rights are conditioned by adopting a specific pandemic strategy. The paper argues that a qualitative change in protection political rights resulted from the abandonment of smart quarantine in favor of a hard lockdown in the Czech Republic. The critical change was the end of the constitutional state of emergency due to the opposition of members of parliament to its extension and its replacement by a state of emergency based on an act passed during the first weeks of 2021.

Session II – Polish Language Session. Demokracja i ochrona praw człowieka w warunkach lockdownu [Democracy and protection of human rights under lockdown conditions]

Jacek Sobczak: Tajemnica dziennikarska co do osobowych źródeł informacji źrenicą wolności prasy | Journalistic secret as to personal sources of information as a warrant of freedom of the press
Łukasz Zamęcki, Adam Szymański: Wpływ zarządzania kryzysem COVID-19 przez władzę wykonawczą na stan demokracji w Polsce | Impact of COVID-19 crisis management by the executive power on the state of democracy in Poland
Badania współczesnych procesów de-demokratyzacyjnych wskazują, że zjawisko monopolizowania władzy przez organy wykonawcze (ang. executive aggrandizement) jest główną formą pogarszania jakości demokracji, czy wręcz autokratyzacji państwa (por. Bermeo 2016). Proces ten można zaobserwować w ostatnich latach także w Polsce. Pandemia koronawirusa wywołała dodatkowe obawy, wyrażane m.in. przez ośrodki badawcze monitorujące globalną jakość demokracji, o przyspieszenie procesów rozszerzania uprawnień władzy wykonawczej, co negatywnie wpłynie na trójpodział władzy, rządy prawa czy wolności obywatelskie (np. Alizada i in. 2021). Obawy wynikały m.in. z faktu, że ciężar walki ze skutkami pandemii spadł na władzę wykonawczą, a badania pokazują, że podczas pandemii ograniczane były prawa obywatelskie, a rola parlamentów w państwach narodowych rzeczywiście ulega zmniejszeniu (Bar-Siman-Tov 2020). Na podstawie analizy aktów prawnych służących walce ze skutkami pandemii powstałych w Polsce od marca 2020 roku, przeprowadzonych wywiadów fokusowych z prawnikami oraz badaniu procesów legislacyjnych w Polsce w trakcie pandemii autorzy przedstawią odpowiedź na pytanie czy pandemia przyczyniła się w Polsce do dalszego „rozszerzania władzy wykonawczej” (executive aggrandizement), czy zatrzymała procesy de-demokratyzacyjne, czy je wzmocniła, a może zmieniła ich formułę. Przedstawiony zostanie model zarządzania kryzysem, w którym władze państwowe nie podjęły decyzji o wprowadzeniu stanu nadzwyczajnego, ale podjęły szereg działań o charakterze ekstraordynaryjnym.
Anna Jach: Pandemia COVID-19 a przestrzeganie praw człowieka we współczesnej Rosji (2019-2021) | The COVID-19 pandemic and the observance of human rights in modern Russia (2019-2021)
The threat of losing the sense of security generates a number of actions aimed at counteracting the threat. In response to the deepening danger caused by the spread of the coronavirus, decision-makers initiated a number of measures that expanded the powers of state authorities at various levels. As a result, systematic restrictions on civil liberties, including the right to socio-political activity of citizens, became more and more acutely felt.

On the one hand, the COVID-19 pandemic turned out to be a kind of test of the state’s readiness for such action, the consequences of which not only decision makers were forced to deal with, but first and foremost citizens.

The parliamentary elections in 2021 are the second element in verifying the changes that have taken place in Russian society in terms of citizens’ readiness to accept the legal status quo.
The aim of the lecture is to find an answer to the question about the readiness of Russian society to come to terms with the new legal and political situation arising from the pandemic crisis and affecting the functioning of civil society in contemporary Russia.

Aleksandra Szczerba: Wpływ pandemii na sytuację osób doświadczających przemocy domowej | The impact of pandemia on the situation of persons experiencing domestic violence
Remigiusz Rosicki: Bezpieczeństwo jednostki na przykładzie kontroli operacyjnej stosowanej przez polskie służby specjalne | The safety of an individual on the example of operational control applied by Polish secret services
Natalia Potera: Wpływ pandemii COVID-19 na postrzeganie praw człowieka w Polsce | The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the perception of human rights in Poland
Szczepienia przeciwko wirusowi Covid-19 na chwilę obecną nie są bezwzględnie obowiązujące w Polsce, w związku z czym obywatele mają prawo do decydowania o tym, czy chcą przyjąć proponowany medykament. Już z chwilą wybuchu pandemii w debacie publicznej pojawiło się pytanie co do wymogu szczepień oraz ewentualnych konsekwencjach ich braku. Autorka w swoim wystąpieniu postara się wskazać w jakich okolicznościach dochodzi do łamania praw człowieka oraz ewentualnej dyskryminacji. Wskaże przy tym na regulacje konstytucyjne, stanowiące o prawie do wprowadzenia rozróżnienia pomiędzy osobami zaszczepionymi oraz tymi, którzy z różnych przyczyn nie poddali się szczepieniom. W swoich rozważaniach autorka skupi się na czynnikach będących podstawą zmiany dotychczasowego porządku prawnego. Wśród nich można wymienić m.in. aspekt konieczności, proporcjonalności, a także dostępności. Są to bowiem płaszczyzny istotne w procesie analizy skali uprawnień państwa w procesie przyjmowania odmiennych stanowisk wobec swoich obywateli.

Celem niniejszego wystąpienia jest odpowiedzenie na dwa główne pytania badawcze:
1. Czy obowiązek szczepienia przeciwko wirusowi Covid-19 stoi w sprzeczności z prawami człowieka?
2. W jakiej sytuacji państwo, bądź też jakikolwiek inny zwierzchnik, może zmusić jednostkę do przyjęcia szczepionki?

Session III. The right to health and health-care and equitable access to vaccination during COVID-19 pandemic

Eduardo Torres Alonso, Andrea Samaniego Sanchez: The COVID-19 emergency and the responses of different Nation-States the Leviathan of the 21st century?
The sanitary emergency caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which produces the disease known as COVID-19, has provoked an unusual globe quarantine state. This circumstance led to the emergence of a sanitary Leviathan that at the same time set the proper measurements to avoid the disease spread, particularly, reclusion at home installed a surveillance system for people. Never before as nowadays, a majority of the world´s population is attached to controls and tracking by the authority (Sympa, 2020). This apparent protection has been noticed through many measures that have included borders closure as a source of sovereignty reinforcement and pointing out the other, usually a foreigner, as the responsible of the contagious. However, migrations, before and during the pandemic, reflect conflicts, scarcity, and persecutions. Governments face the major challenge of providing temporal support conditions for those migrant people until the sanitary emergency finishes because its agglomeration represents a significant infection risk. Is lamentable to realize that not only among migrant people but generally in society health is a “class privilege”. Overcrowding, malnutrition, the necessity of getting out to work or to escape from their origin places due to the prevailing conditions there, there are incoming gates for the virus that have turned upside-down global institutions.

In addition, it seems at the horizon, quite fragile, the return of a social State due to the governments have assigned millions of dollars to unemployed people and health services. The numbers change, but the objective is the same: do not leave the population to their fate. For example: the German government announced an economic and sanitary measures package for an amount of 156.000 million euros; in Spain, that amount ascends to 200.000 million euros, and in France, this assistance is about 45.000 million euros and a loan warranty for 300.000 million (Sympa, 2020). A new great deal has been laid on the table. A Marshall Plan for the XXI century. This paper pursues the objective of reflecting on the different effects that the pandemic has had on democracy, freedoms, and institutions. The consequences of the disease will not only be reflected in the sanitary area but other aspects of social life will be affected, too; even the power division mechanisms and the integration of public positions, characteristic elements of modern democracies, which have suffered the effects of this illness, putting at risk the democratic nature of some countries. The pandemic should and has to be analyzed from many different perspectives since in it different elements converge that go beyond medical ones. The change that we face is not minor: the routines and certainties that we had taken for granted during this century are in doubt. We have never lived in a global quarantine state before and we never thought that an installation of a transitory State of exception would be so fast, a sanitary Leviathan, via national Sates.

Radosław Fiedler: Why did the US fail to respond to COVID-19?
This presentation aims to answer the question of why COVID-19 led to more than 700,000 deaths in the United States. The following issues have been discussed: delayed response to these challenges from the federal government as well as local and state governments, poor health protection, racial divisions, and the dramatic widening of income inequalities.
Monika Urbaniak: The constitutional obligation of combating epidemic illnesses of the public authorities. The case of Poland
According to the article 68 com. 4 of the Polish Constitution public authorities shall combat epidemic illnesses and prevent the negative health consequences of degradation of the environment. The Constitution created a system of guarantees that an individual would obtain in order to guarantee the right to health protection, which is a manifestation of the state’s concern for its citizens. The constitutional legislator obliged public authorities to take actions to eliminate or at least minimize threats to human life and health, including combating epidemic diseases. It should be pointed out that the discussed obligation extends not only to the period of real struggle with an already occurring epidemic, but it has to apply to the introduction of pre-epidemic measures that will allow for preparation for a real epidemic.
Tomasz Litwin: Would Obligatory Vaccination for COVID-19 Be Acceptable from the Human Rights Perspective?
The COVID-19 pandemic caused death of more than 4,5 million persons worldwide. Many people infected by COVID-19, even after they are recognised as cured, suffer from long-term effects of this disease. The pandemic also forced governments to introduce “lockdowns” that led to limitation of rights and freedoms and worsened the economic situation of individuals and states. The vaccine for COVID-19, easy accessible in western countries, is universally recognised as the only method of limiting the possibility of being infected and dangerous effects of disease. Still in the most countries fully vaccinated is less than 70% of the population. This could result in the near future by the grown number of the infections and deaths caused by COVID-19 and lead to another series of lockdowns worldwide. The main aim, to diminish the mentioned possible effects of the another “wave” of pandemic, becomes to vaccinate the biggest number of people. The persons who are not vaccinated cause danger not only for themselves, as they could be easily infected and heavily suffer from disease, but they could also infect many others.The obligatory vaccination seems to be a measure encouraging more people to being vaccinated. However, people who are against vaccination justify they approach by using arguments basing on the internationally recognised human rights:
-the obligatory vaccination would be against the personal freedom connected with the right to protect private life and freedom of thought and conscience;
-the vaccines are not safe because they were not properly checked during the process of scientific research, so obligatory vaccination should be regarded as prohibited forcing of individual to participate in medical experimentation.

In my presentation I shall prove that obligatory vaccination for COVID-19 is not against freedom of thought or freedom of conscience as individuals who do not accept it still can proclaim their views. The obligatory vaccination could be regarded as infringement of personal freedom connected with the right to protect private life but it is justified by the need of protection of public health. The vaccines for COVID-19 were properly checked during the research so the vaccination can not be treated as the sort of medical experiment. Last but not least, the safety of the process of vaccination for COVID-19 could be ensured by the individual medical interviews.

Jedrzej Skrzypczak, Tomasz Maksymiuk: Referring doctors to fight the epidemic during the Covid-19 pandemic - between forced labour and necessity the fight against the epidemic
Each doctor, starting his professional career, takes a medical oath. He swears, among other things, to serve human life and health and react against suffering and disease and assist the ill without any disparities. Therefore, it seems that medical professionals’ imperative of fighting the epidemic fits perfectly into such a vocation. However, a fundamental doubt arises, namely whether such involvement of health-care workers in the fight against the epidemic should only be recognised and analysed in terms of deontological obligations or also in the form of appropriate legal norms being, in fact, work order or even forced labour. This paper attempts at a legal and deontological analysis of the institution of referring medics to fight the epidemic from the applicable legal regulations’ historical and comparative perspective.

Session IV. Key human rights during COVID-19 pandemic. Impact of COVID-19 on some aspects of human rights

Magdalena Zamroczyńska: E-zdrowie w pandemii COVID-19 | E-health in the COVID-19 pandemic
Justyna Otto: Zdrowie i opieka zdrowotna podczas zarazy – z perspektywy doświadczeń historycznych Polski od dżumy do ospy prawdziwej | Health and health-care during the pestilence - from the perspective of Poland's historical experience, from the plague to smallpox
Celem referatu będzie politologiczna analiza problemu w jaki sposób z perspektywy historycznej państwo polskie reagowało na pandemie i epidemie chorób zakaźnych, jak wyglądało dbanie o zdrowie i ochronę zdrowia polskich poddanych i obywateli. Według referentki wystąpienie ma stanowić swoiste otwarcie, bazę startową do dyskusji o tym, jak pandemia Covid-19 zmieniła wiele aspektów życia ludzkiego i społecznego. Czego można było się nauczyć, co można było wynieść z doświadczeń historycznych Polski w walce z dżumą, cholerą, tyfusem, grypą, ospą prawdziwą od XIV wieku po wiek XX?
Pierwsze interwencje państwa w ogóle w dziedzinie zdrowia dokonały się w związku z chorobami zakaźnymi i ta interwencja z czasem miała stać się coraz większa. Od końca XVII w. w Europie Zachodniej można zaobserwować coraz większą ingerencję władz centralnych w kwestie zdrowotności oraz higieny ludności podporządkowanego terytorium, co w rezultacie w wieku XVIII doprowadziło do przejęcia całkowitej kontroli nad tym sektorem życia społecznego przez państwo. Na terenie Rzeczypospolitej analogiczne procesy przebiegały o wiele wolniej, w wyraźnym zapóźnieniu do Zachodu.
Jeżeli chodzi o działalność przeciwmorową, to na terenie Rzeczypospolitej regularne służby powietrzne wykształciły się jedynie w dużych miastach Prus Królewskich, które już w XVII wieku przyjęły niemieckie rozwiązania w tej materii. Na pozostałym obszarze państwa działały tylko instytucje powoływane ad hoc, których kierownictwo powierzano doraźnie wybieranym szafarzom powietrznym. Na obszarze Rzeczypospolitej ingerencja władz centralnych w kwestie zdrowotności i higieny ludności, w tym przejęcie kontroli nad działaniami przeciwmorowymi, to znaczy tworzenie pierwszych centralnych instytucji powoływanych do walki z zarazą, miało miejsce nie wcześniej niż w latach 70. XVIII wieku.
Przełom wiązał się z przedsięwziętymi przez gabinet króla Stanisława Augusta Poniatowskiego ogólnokrajowymi akcjami, które miały na celu stłumienie panującej w tym czasie zarazy i z powołaniem centralnego ośrodka decyzyjnego – Rady Nieustającej.

Do tego momentu ochrona ludności przed epidemiami spoczywała wyłącznie na barkach lokalnego samorządu miejskiego. O zbliżającym się do miasta zagrożeniu informowały ogłoszenia Rad Miejskich oraz duchowni na mszy.

Próby powstrzymania moru lub zmniejszenia jego skutków sprawiały, że aktywizowali się zarówno monarchowie, jak również instytucje kościelne i miejskie samorządy. Do tych ostatnich należała właściwa walka z zarazą, a kierowali nią w miastach albo urzędnicy specjalnych Urzędów Zdrowia, albo tzw. burmistrzowie powietrzni. W obu przypadkach bezpośrednią opiekę nad zapowietrzonymi sprawowali lekarze i cyrulicy, a także rekrutujący się z miejskiej biedoty strażnicy „powietrzni”, pielęgniarki oraz kopacze-grabarze. Ważne zadanie stanowiło również udzielanie materialnej oraz medycznej pomocy jak największej liczbie potrzebujących. Obejmowano nią zarówno zadżumionych, jak również rzeszę pauperyzujących się i przymierających głodem przedstawicieli pospólstwa i biedoty.

Anna Szafryna-Kliwicka: Sytuacja pacjentów onkologicznych w pandemii COVID-19 | The situation of cancer patients in the COVID-19 pandemic
Pandemia Covid 19 w znaczący sposób wpłynęła na sytuację pacjentów chorych na nowotwory w Polsce. Utrudnienia na drodze do wyzdrowienia zaczynają się już na poziomie dostępu do diagnostyki.
Przemianowanie wielu szpitali rejonowych na tzw. jednoimienne spowodowało, iż cały ciężar diagnostyki onkologicznej przeszedł na centra onkologii. Wydłużyło to kolejki i opóźniło średni czas do rozpoznania nowotworu o kilka tygodni do nawet kilku miesięcy. Strach przed wirusem sprawił również, że sami chorzy opóźniali moment zgłoszenia się do lekarza.
W konsekwencji leczenie rozpoczynali pacjenci w wyższych stopniach zaawansowania choroby, a co za tym idzie, z gorszym rokowaniem.

Na etapie leczenia pandemia zmieniła również wiele. W szpitalu pacjent pozbawiony jest możliwości towarzystwa osoby bliskiej, wsparcia duchownego. Zdany tylko na siebie chory, niesprawny, starszy człowiek często wpada w lęk, depresję.

Ale to nie wszystko- pandemia wpłynęła również na finansowanie świadczeń zdrowotnych. Konieczność leczenia chorych na Covid 19 zredukowała środki finansowania terapii onkologicznych. Skutkiem tego był brak możliwości leczenia w ramach tzw. ratunkowego dostępu do terapii leczniczych.

Nie można zapomnieć również o wyższej śmiertelności w przebiegu samej infekcji koronawirusem w grupie chorych na nowotwory. Brak dostatecznego wyszczepienia całej populacji podnosi ryzyko zakażenia i ciężkiego przebiegu infekcji wśród osób z obniżoną odpornością.

Marcin Waszak: Ułatwienie dostępu do wykonywania zawodu lekarza w czasie pandemii. Tworzenie czy rozwiązanie problemu dostępu do świadczeń zdrowotnych? | Facilitating access to practice as a physician during a pandemic. Creating or solving the issue of access to health services?
Wojciech Mincewicz: Funkcjonowanie organizacji trzeciego sektora w Polsce w okresie pandemii: problemy i wyzwania | Functioning of the third sector organization in Poland during the pandemic: issues and challenges
Celem referatu jest przedstawienie zarysu podstawowych problemów i wyzwań z jakimi musiały zmagać się organizacje trzeciego sektora w trakcie pandemii wirusa SARS-CoV-2 w Polsce w okresie tzw. pierwszej fali i całkowitego lockdownu. Wystąpienie oparte zostanie na materiałach źródłowych zgromadzonych w raportach i publicznie dostępnych opracowaniach, a także na autorskich badaniach jakościowych. Wywiady pogłębione przeprowadzone z reprezentantami organizacji pozarządowych pozwoliły wyróżnić problemy o charakterze: ekonomicznym, organizacyjnym oraz społecznym. Do szans i rozwiązań, które na stałe zostały wdrożone w funkcjonowanie trzeciego sektora zaliczyć należy proces cyfryzacji działalności.
Martyna Woźniak: Za i przeciw ograniczaniu praw człowieka na przykładzie decyzji politycznych brytyjskiego rządu wobec pandemii COVID-19 | For and against the restriction of human rights on the example of the British government's political decisions on the COVID-19 pandemic
Wielka Brytania na początku 2020 roku stanęła w obliczu zmierzenia się z konsekwencjami związanymi, nie tylko z Brexitem, ale także z rozpowszechniającą się pandemią Covid-19. Pierwszy przypadek zachorowania na koronawirusa w Zjednoczonym Królestwie zanotowano 31 stycznia 2020 roku, czyli w ten sam dzień, kiedy Brytyjczycy opuścili Unię Europejską. Przez długi czas, pomimo wzrastającego zagrożenia, rząd w Londynie nie podejmował żadnych działań. W efekcie bagatelizowania sytuacji Wielka Brytania była jednym z państw najgorzej radzących sobie z pandemią. Wiele późniejszych działań związanych z zapobieganiem dalszemu rozpowszechnianiu się wirusa jest oceniane w raportach takich organizacji jak Amnesty International czy Human Right Watch jako łamiące prawa człowieka i ograniczające swobody. Celem niniejszego wystąpienia jest analiza poczynań rządu Borisa Johnsona oraz próba oceny ich adekwatności wobec powagi sytuacji.

Session V. Key human rights during COVID-19 pandemic. Impact of COVID-19 on some aspects of human rights

Oscar Pérez de la Fuente: Pandemic, Corruption and Accountability
The pandemic has been a great opportunity to understand the relevance of good accountability in public affairs. The general framework of accountability requires that governors:
1. Explain their actions.
2. Justify their decisions.
3. Be punished or rewarded for their actions and decisions.
During this time, political actions and decisions have not been explained or justified in the best way or even politically or legally punished. The pandemic has also been an opportunity to increase corruption. Arbitrariness and fewer controls have been commonplace to deal with unexpected situations. Judgements in terms of efficacy have a specific value in those contexts. However, the justification of political actions and the possibility of being enforced are the basis of democracy, which means the ‘government of the people’ etymologically.
Tatiana Barandova: (Labour) Migrants’ Rights in “Forced Digitalization” Contexts of Covid-19 Lockdown Period in Russia
Through the period of lockdown(s) started since March 2020 and lasting by the current moment in Russia, all population met with the situation of “forced digitalization” of majority of their daily activities, including labor, education, medicine, etc. Country’s authorities had to invent and implement new legal frameworks for regulating on-going processes ad-hog, so quite a lot of new issues raised up on the governmental agenda, as well as in the practices of enterprises’ and entrepreneurs’ actors. Many sectors of economy, previously involved huge amounts of migrants (like construction, housing and communal, care work, etc), met with difficulties of both – administrative and financial – nature and thousands of working (labour) migrants suffered from new obstacles, connected with introduction of “quarantine-like” measures , announced by governments all over the world. At the same time, (self)isolation (how it was named in Russian context) brought new challenges not only for implementation of state migration policy goals and needs, but also for issues of prevention/struggle against violations of migrant’s rights, whose took as well new forms due to specific circumstances for all groups of migrants (i.e. whole continuum between highly qualified specialists and non-qualified workers of all ages and genders, countries of origin, ethnic and other identities, internal and external, etc). The purposes of this paper is to study how and in what exactly fields of migrant’s rights there damaged, and how it was responded in official discourses (mostly by Ombuds’ bodies) as well as how were issues of major segments of human rights violations reflected in legal and political dimensions transformations during the 2020-2021 period of Covid-19 restrictions. Empirical data: a) Reports of federal and regional Ombuds institutions, b) selected by set of criteria federal and regional legislation, 3) other normative documents changes during the considered period (i.e. available online, as well as case-study on my own permanent working place in educational institution).
Spoiler title
Recognized in the UN Declaration on the Right to Development – RTD- (1986) and Article 22 of the African Charter, the RTD is composed of a plurality of rights such as civil and political as well as socio-economic rights. Among these, they are the Right to Health (RTH) which is not only refers to the access to health care but includes safe drinking water and adequate sanitation, safe food, adequate nutrition and housing, healthy working and environmental conditions, health-related education, and information, and Gender equality. In the African context, all these rights are hardly respected, due to bad governance and poverty. The dire situation of African countries and governments was exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Besieged by inadequately abated corrupt tendencies, African Government officials squandered donor funds from international organizations such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund meant to help alleviate the burden of welfare during lockdowns, revamp health facilities, and accelerate the vaccination of the populace. Even then, the funds collected from the large relief efforts put together in the countries to support the socioeconomic situation during the pandemic did not reach those who deserved them the most but were instead diverted by officials to building their own private empires. It seems, therefore, that the African states have a bigger virus ‘corruption’ to fight than Covid-19. As described by UN Secretary-General in October 2020, the misuse of funds and relief for Covid-19 in Africa is ‘criminal, immoral and the ultimate betrayal of public trust’. The COVID-19 pandemic created from the beginning a vast opportunity “to exploit weak oversight and inadequate transparency to divert funds away from people in their hour of greatest need”. South Africa and Uganda are two categorical examples that saw a spring up of “Covid Entrepreneurs” maliciously benefitting at the expense of the masses they are called to serve. In making its case the paper deconstructs the RTD in Africa in general and in South Africa and Uganda in particular. Then it proceeds to examine, how corruption, through the study of two countries, undermined these two governments’ efforts to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and consequently jeopardizing the Right to Health. It is hoped that lessons from these two cases present the grave need for collective oversight by both donor and anti-corruption agencies in respective African countries.
Keywords: Corruption, Covid-19, Right to Development, Right to Health, Rule of Law
Rubén Tamboleo García: Constitution-making and social response for political and human rights under COVID-19 scenario: the Spanish case
The aim of this paper is to study how the years 2020 and 2021 have changed Spain with the COVID-19 crisis scenario. We can distinguish two big phases with the summer of 2020 in the middle, in which some people were thinking that everything was finished. We’ll been focusing on the next four points:

Constitution-making: the answer to limit life wasn’t easy, the Government and the Administration needed a political and administrative tool to do things supposedly fighting the spread of the disease, that were never done underneath the mark of the Spanish Constitution of 1978. The political game was changing from almost unanimity supporting the Government, to political distress in grow. One year after the beginning, the Constitutional Court was sentencing unconstitutional the “State of Alarm” declared by the Government and sanctioned by the Parliament in successive occasions.

Social response: the majority of the people was very supportive even with events like “applauses from the balconing at 8:00 P.M.”, but with the pass of the time the social distress was growing up with some protests in the early summer of 2020 and with protests against the vaccination of the youngest people in the summer of 2021.

Human rights: the health is not only to not get sick, is a sum of variables like work, relations, economics, feeding, sport, etc. that was very limited with one of the most severe lockdowns in the world. We will be reviewing some of the elements that could be affected for human rights and opening the discussion to the conference.

Political rights: participation in social protests, gatherings for religious activities, some kind of discourses on social media, and a new kind of social control was in development in this one year and a half, with always the excuse or the pretext of COVID-19, and there was an impress of the political class feeling very comfortable just forbidding things.

Also, there has been a strong response from the judges against “green passport” (in our multi-level governance), very different of countries like our neighbour France or Italy. Thanks to that, the obligation of vaccination was not possible for public employees on the contrary like other countries.

For conclusion and discussion: we will be presenting the main changes and the importance for comparative study cases inside the European Union and questioning if some of these changes are here for staying longer or permanently.

Samantha A. Lopez: On Necropolitics and Checkpoints: An Interrogation into the Deathworlds and Death-making Practices of the Pandemic Response of the Philippines
In an attempt to curb the rapidly increasing number of CoVID-19 cases in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte imposed a nationwide lockdown which effectively restricted mobility as highly militarized and policed checkpoints were established. Drawing from Achille Mbembe’s necropolitics – defined as the subjugation of life to the power of death – this paper aims to examine the checkpoint system as a necropolitical device with which the state creates spaces beyond the realm of liveable (death-worlds) and confers human rights violations, internal displacement, and economic insecurity against the backdrop of Duterte’s authoritarian regime. Through the queer critique of the necropolitical, these death-making practices are understood as not just being carried out in the spectacularity of excessive violence, but also in the banality of everyday life. Necropolitics continue to find justification within the perpetual state of emergency and the war imaginary that delegates checkpoint passers as the enemy and takes their obliteration as the primary objective. However, even

in the ostensible inescapability of death-worlds, people have managed to subvert, reject, resist, and even accommodate necropolitical logics to allow for the possibility of life-in-death and the futurity of the eventual collapse of the death-worlds.

Keywords: checkpoints, movement, COVID-19, Duterte, necropolitics, Philippines

Session VI. The impact of the (health) crisis on freedom of expression and media freedom

Wojciech Adamczyk: The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on changes in the media market and information pluralism
The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected various aspects of the media market around the world. The changes affected not only the ways of functioning of the editorial office (for example home office, hybrid work) and, being a consequence of sanitary restrictions reduction of employment, resignation from possession media offices, and a new way of organizing the management of editorial work. Changes in the habits of consuming media content in recipients resulting from the epidemiological threat resulted in significant decreases in the circulation of the printed press, both national and local. Many media outlets had to suspend or terminate their activities permanently. Increased interest in obtaining information from the Internet, and in particular from social media, forces us to ask questions about threats to information pluralism in three aspects: content, information sources, and content providers.
Anna Wójcik: Report of group of experts of project SLAPP in Poland
The group of experts (scientists, legal practitioners and journalists) chaired by prof. Adam Bodnar, will present the results of the project monitoring SLAPP cases in Poland in the last two years.
Bartosz Hordecki: Implementation of the Law on Securing the Functioning of Ukrainian as a State Language in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic
In 2019, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law on Securing the Functioning of Ukrainian as a State Language. The document introduced a rich repertoire of measures to foster “the protection of Ukrainian as a state language”. The adoption of the law triggered an in-depth discussion on the future of the Ukrainian language regime. Supporters of the regulation predicted that it would allow Ukraine to develop a coherent and effective language policy, significantly strengthening the position of the Ukrainian language in “the Ukrainian communication space”. They believed that new legal solutions would help stabilize the socio-political situation in Ukraine and increase its internal and external security. The opponents of the law, on the other hand, argued that its adoption severely restricted the linguistic rights of non-Ukrainian speakers. They also claimed that new standards would intensely increase linguistic discrimination and ethnopolitical conflicts among Ukrainians. At the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic began, profoundly affecting the development of practically all kinds of public policies. In this context, the conditions for language policy in Ukraine have also seriously changed. Consequently, the question arises how and to which extent the dynamically evolving situation influences the implementation of the Law on Securing the Functioning of Ukrainian as a State Language. An attempt to clarify this issue is the primary purpose of the proposed paper. Covid-19 pandemic showed the seriousness of the information epidemic and its negative impact on societies, as a lot of false and misleading information appeared, especially in social media platforms, some of which made individuals in a state of confusion, especially about vaccines, and increased the importance of the responsibility that falls on the shoulders of specialized agencies in general, and platforms social media, in particular, to counter misleading and false messages.While it can be said that modern technology and platforms played an important role in communicating and informing about the Covid-19 virus, to be the first historical pandemic in which these platforms played such a wide role, their use to broadcast false messages created a great information and health challenge. Which called on the member states of the World Health Organization, in their decision adopted in May 2020 regarding the response to the pandemic, to acknowledge the importance of addressing the information epidemic, as this is an essential part of the efforts to address the pandemic, and the importance of working hard to confront misinformation in the digital space in particular, and supporting Availability of reliable and honest information.A study published by Pan American Health Organization indicates the fake news that was published in Brazil, during the Covid pandemic, from the beginning of January to June 2020. that there are 329 of fake news were published during this period, most of this fake news has been spread via WhatsApp and Facebook, about COVID-19, including 20.1% about political topics, 19.5% about epidemics and statistics related to deaths and causes, and 16.1% related to topics about virus prevention. According to Google Trends, the number of searches using terms taken from fake news increased by 34.3% during the study time frame.To learn well from the lessons and events, this example and others point to the danger of the information epidemic, which is no less important than the health risk of epidemics.Hence the importance of this session, which is held within the sessions of the IPSA RC26 International Symposium, to discuss the challenges of the spread of false information, and come out with recommendations and solutions that may contribute to efforts to build a secure information society.
Jędrzej Skrzypczak, Krzysztof Duda: Freedom of speech during the time of pandemic COVID-19
The presentation will analyse permissible restrictions on the freedom of speech in the context of restrictions and censorship in the face of fears of panic among the COVID-19 pandemia.
Vladyslav Zinichenko: How has the pandemic affected media freedom in Ukraine and Belarus?
The COVID-19 pandemic has become more than just a responsibility for world politicians. It gave them new opportunities to control media and society. “Communication channels have been targeted, social media has been censored, and media outlets have been closed down,” stated a representative of Amnesty International. Freedom of speech has been limited not only in authoritarian but also in democratic countries. It could have affected public awareness of the problem.

The main goal of this paper is to analyze the use of the COVID-19 pandemic as a new pretext for restricting freedom of expression in Belarus and Ukraine. Source analysis will be applied to achieve it. The article will cover 2020 and 2021 years. Most researchers often concentrates on Western countries and the United States. However, it is important to take into account the Eastern European perspective on this issue. The two selected post-Soviet countries have different political paths. Belarus is a consolidated authoritarian regime, while Ukraine is a transitional or hybrid regime. The stability of the European Union depends, among other things, on the development of freedom of speech in neighboring territories. This paper will provide better understanding of the positive or negative tendencies in the region.

Wael Nel: Infodemic and Covid-19. How we Find the Truth?
Covid-19 pandemic showed the seriousness of the information epidemic and its negative impact on societies, as a lot of false and misleading information appeared, especially in social media platforms, some of which made individuals in a state of confusion, especially about vaccines, and increased the importance of the responsibility that falls on the shoulders of specialized agencies in general, and platforms social media, in particular, to counter misleading and false messages.

While it can be said that modern technology and platforms played an important role in communicating and informing about the Covid-19 virus, to be the first historical pandemic in which these platforms played such a wide role, their use to broadcast false messages created a great information and health challenge. Which called on the member states of the World Health Organization, in their decision adopted in May 2020 regarding the response to the pandemic, to acknowledge the importance of addressing the information epidemic, as this is an essential part of the efforts to address the pandemic, and the importance of working hard to confront misinformation in the digital space in particular, and supporting Availability of reliable and honest information.

A study published by Pan American Health Organization indicates the fake news that was published in Brazil, during the Covid pandemic, from the beginning of January to June 2020. that there are 329 of fake news were published during this period, most of this fake news has been spread via WhatsApp and Facebook, about COVID-19, including 20.1% about political topics, 19.5% about epidemics and statistics related to deaths and causes, and 16.1% related to topics about virus prevention. According to Google Trends, the number of searches using terms taken from fake news increased by 34.3% during the study time frame.

To learn well from the lessons and events, this example and others point to the danger of the information epidemic, which is no less important than the health risk of epidemics.
Hence the importance of this session, which is held within the sessions of the IPSA RC26 International Symposium, to discuss the challenges of the spread of false information, and come out with recommendations and solutions that may contribute to efforts to build a secure information society.