Pandemic: attitudes towards the measures that limit civil liberties
Paris : CEVIPOF
A large number of measures that limit civil liberties have been put in place in countries dealing with the COVID 19 pandemic. The crisis has led to a certain number of values that are essential to western democracies being put on hold: the freedom to come and go and to engage in one’s affairs, the freedom to meet other people and the right to protest and hold demonstratations, and, more indirectly, the right to a private and familial life and the right to an education. In France, the theory of exceptional circumstances and Article L. 3131-1 of the Public Health Code (Paragraph 1 of this article stipulates that “in the case of a serious threat to public health that calls for urgent measures to be adopted, particularly the threat of an epidemic, the Minister for Health can, by substantiated decree and in the interests of public health, order any measure proportionate to the risks and appropriate to the circumstances of the time period and area concerned to be adopted, in order to prevent and/or to limit the consequences of the aforesaid threat to the health of the population. The Minister can also adopt such measures after the declared state of emergency for public health has been terminated, as provided for in Chapter 1a of the present act, in order to ensure the longterm elimination of the health crisis”) were used to justify the implementation of these measures that deprive the population of certain freedoms, before the state of emergency for public health was voted in with the law of March 23, 20201 . One of the most spectacular facets of this limit to civil liberties is undoubtedly the confinement to place of residence, which as of April 7, 2020 affected 4 billion people worldwide. This figure, which just a few short weeks ago seemed unimaginable, raises the question of resilience among those in confinement.