The right of assembly must be respected
I have conveyed to the President of the Republic AKEL’s positions on the situation as it is evolving with regards our efforts to address the consequences of the pandemic and reduce it, and if possible to eradicate it as soon as possible.
I have stressed that only two parameters can’t be taken into account. Certainly the issue of public health is the most important of all and this must guide all our actions and efforts as a state. At the same time, however, other parameters must also be taken into account, which are also extremely important.
First and foremost, as regards mental health, the problems have multiplied and I believe that the findings of scientific research must be used, which besides has also been honored with the first Prize of the Young Researcher. A research that was carried out by two professors of the University of Cyprus which have found extremely interesting facts that it would be useful for the Ministry of Health to take into account.
Furthermore, economic activity is of course of great importance so that people can live on a tolerable level and not be driven into conditions of poverty. But social activity, social action, as well as political action, also have their own significance.
We have conveyed to the President of the Republic AKEL’s view that the political parties under his chairmanship should have a discussion with the epidemiological team and the Minister of Health in an effort to convince that there is a possibility, by taking the necessary protection measures that will protect us from spreading the pandemic, for many other activities to take place too.
For example, we cannot understand why music conservatories can’t operate. We cannot understand why restaurants cannot open with the necessary precautions implemented. Music conservatories can open on the basis of one teacher-one student. Schools are already operating without provoking any problems whatsoever.
So all of this, and nay more other issues, which I do not consider appropriate to refer to right now, can be reviewed as soon as possible. In our opinion, we don’t have to wait until March 15th and – always taking into account the necessary protection measures – we need to see how music venues and theatres, culture in general, etc., but also music conservatories/academies, the catering industry and for sure political activity can reopen.
The United Nations, the Commission on Human Rights, the Council of Europe, and the ECHR have repeatedly stressed recently that the tackling of the pandemic should not cause any problems, at least as far as the restriction of freedom of expression and the right of assembly is concerned. These are also our own demands too so that these rights are respected in Cyprus.
The President of the Republic has promised that next week he will convene a meeting chaired by the political parties together with the Minister of Health and epidemiologists to discuss all these issues. I hope and wish that the right decisions are approved there, which on the one hand will deal effectively with public health issues and all the other issues I have referred to – both with regards mental health issues and relating to social, economic and political activity.