Pandemic Law Gives Health Minister Unprecedented Dictatorial Power
The proposed Public Health Law (Wpg), known as the Pandemic Law, has sparked a heated debate in the Netherlands as it could grant the Health Minister unprecedented dictatorial powers that go beyond the COVID-19 measures of recent years. If passed, the law would allow the government to restrict the freedom of the population during a Category A1 disease pandemic, which can be declared on its own. With the vote scheduled for February 2nd, many are concerned about the implications of this proposed law for the country's democracy and individual liberties.
THE NETHERLANDS - On February 2nd, the proposed Public Health Law (Wpg), commonly referred to as the Pandemic Law, will be voted on in the Dutch Senate. If the law is passed, it will grant the Minister of Health (currently Ernst Kuipers of the D66 party) unprecedented dictatorial powers that go even further than the COVID-19 measures of recent years. In the event of a Category A1 disease pandemic, which the government can declare on its own, the freedom of the population can be severely restricted.
Dutch Pandemic Law Gives Unprecedented Powers to Health Minister
Diverse organizations, including the Biomedical Accountability Office, Forum for Democracy, and the left-wing collective De Vierde Golf, are opposing the proposed Pandemic Law and urging members of the Dutch Senate to scrutinize it closely.
If passed by the Senate on February 2nd, the Pandemic Law would give the Dutch Minister of Health (currently D66's Ernst Kuipers) unprecedented authoritarian powers, surpassing even the Covid measures of the past few years. During a pandemic of a category A1 disease, which the government can declare on its own, the law would allow for the drastic restriction of the population's freedom.
Critics, including journalist Erick Overveen, who sent a critical letter to the Senate, point out that the government has not even evaluated the Covid measures, but is expanding them anyway. The Pandemic Law would also codify the controversial measures, such as lockdowns, social distancing, and extensive testing, which were never evaluated.
The proposed law is facing backlash from various groups, including the Biomedical Accountability Office, De Vierde Golf, and Forum for Democracy. The Biomedical Accountability Office categorizes the proposed law as "a constitutional coup". Journalist Erick Overveen scrutinized the entire Pandemic Law, including the new pandemic proposals, and wrote a strongly worded letter to the Senate urging them to vote against the law. The Senate will discuss the new law on January 17th, 2023.
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