Today, the Albanian parliament voted to extend the state of natural disaster until June 23. The state of natural disaster that has been in force since November 26, following the earthquake that struck the country. The duration of the state of natural disaster was then extended, to April 25, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The state of natural disaster allows the government to restrict certain fundamental human rights and freedoms, in the interest of avoiding, limiting, or repairing damages resulting from natural disasters, in proportion to these damages.
Article 175 of the Constitution provides that, during the state of natural disaster, the rights and freedoms contemplated that may be restricted are: inviolability of the residence and one’s person, freedom of movement, right to fair compensation in case of expropriation or limitation of property rights, right to work and social protection of labor, and the right to strike.
Despite the pandemic, two journalists and an activist protested the vote outside the parliament, denouncing the extension of the state of emergency as unconstitutional. They accused the government of using the pandemic as a way to sign secret tenders, deny people their right to self-govern, and backslide into dictatorship.