Population should have been informed about rights of soldiers patrolling streets, opinion

The presence of soldiers on the streets is not inappropriate and can contribute to public order and can probably encourage society to adopt a more responsible attitude to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the serious impact this makes on society. But the population should have been informed about the rights of these military teams that are patrolling the streets, what they can do and, primarily, what they cannot do in relation to an individual, stated Victor Munteanu, the head of the Justice and Human Rights Department of Soros Foundation Moldova, IPN reports.

“Maybe my opinion is discordant with that of those who consider that the police force is insufficient, but I thought about things from another perspective. We must understand that the crisis is deepening: COVID-19 only came here and will not leave soon and this means that we cannot ignore the fact that we can witness a rise in the crime rate and violations of this very unusual regime. The people cannot simply stay closed inside houses. They want to go out, to parks. The presence of soldiers on the streets is probably necessary,” Victor Munteanu said in an interview for RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service.

He noted that as a citizen, he believes that these guns are an excess. “I want very much to believe and hope that the soldiers will not only stay there, near their fake gun, like at a show for now. I hope they could really help the people and those who really need assistance - a category of the most disadvantaged people who in the period risk being isolated and abandoned. I refer to the elderly people who suffer from a series of health issues and need to be brought home things, from medicines to food. If the military contributes this way, this will be welcome,” stated Victor Munteanu.

As regards the people’s attitude to the measures that they should obey, he said these are not something extraordinary. “We follow more or less the same path as the countries that have gone through this ordeal and I hope the democratic instruments will work here as well as they worked there. I fear the reactions of people as they dare to go out yet and it is indeed very hard to keep inside the children who need to go out, to walk, primarily in the currently sunny weather conditions. We do not talk about this. Such things are realized slowly, in time,” said the head of the Justice and Human Rights Department.

He also said that the very intense information campaign with the message “Please stay at home as it is dangerous” is welcome. But there are fears as regards an eventual imbalance and the unprecedented temptation to take steps towards authoritarianism and the authoritarian regime. “The first steps that look really disproportionate and worrisome to me are not related to the soldiers present on the streets. We are one step away from a disproportionate action. I was also rather seriously concerned, even if some say that we speculate. I don’t know why the Republic of Moldova needed to inform about the implementation of Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the suspension of the Convention’s effects on Moldova’s territory,” noted Victor Munteanu.

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