COVID-19 response policies to not weaken democracy: Minister Marsudi

COVID-19 response policies to not weaken democracy: Minister Marsudi

Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi made a press statement on the sideline of the 13th Bali Democracy Forum in Nusa Dua, Bali on Thursday (Dec 10, 2020). ANTARA/Genta Tenri Mawangi/sh

The pandemic should not weaken democracy, and at the same time, democracy should not become our hindrance to beat the pandemic. In its place, we believe that democracy is the right tool for countries to fight against the pandemic.
Badung, Bali (ANTARA) - Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi expressed belief that the COVID-19 response policies would not weaken democracy.

"We can see how the principles of democracy faced challenges during the pandemic. The right to congregate, to vote, and to make public speech is also restricted. Under the normal situation, such policies could not be accepted. However, in a crisis situation, the policies are allowed," Marsudi stated while addressing foreign delegates at the opening of the 13th Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Thursday.

The minister noted that the pandemic should drive countries to evaluate the implementation of democracy in the community.

"The pandemic should not weaken democracy, and at the same time, democracy should not become our hindrance to beat the pandemic. In its place, we believe that democracy is the right tool for countries to fight against the pandemic," she noted.

The minister asserted that restriction was necessary, but its implementation must be monitored to avoid violation of the citizens’ basic rights.

She cited a research of the Democracy Perception Index wherein most of the global population opined that their countries imposed restrictions "at acceptable levels".

The finding showed that democratic values accepted by the public were aligned with the pandemic situation.

However, the restrictions set by governments or certain authorities must be legitimate, measurable, in keeping with the people’s interest, and open for public criticism, so there is no impingement on the public's freedom, Marsudi expounded.

BDF is a cross-national and cross-institutional meeting initiated and held routinely by Indonesia since 2008. The BDF is a forum of over 50 participating countries, 73 observer countries, and 10 international organizations based in the Asia and Pacific region.

As many as 44 representatives from 26 countries and three international organization partook in this year's edition of BDF. All participants, including organizers and reporters, had tested negative for COVID-19 in swab tests before the forum was opened.

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Director General of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) also delivered their speeches at the forum. Related news: Foreign Minister Marsudi opens 13th BDF in Bali
Related news: Minister Marsudi opens 12th BDF, puts spotlight on inclusive democracy


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