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Restrictions on movement to the fault of Parliament – constitutional expert criticizes the proposal: “Let’s beat the screw with a leka” – Finland

According to Kirsi Varhila, STM’s Chief of Staff, restrictions on movement are an “indirect way” to limit encounters between people in private events. According to Pauli Rautiainen, private parties could also be addressed by developing the Communicable Diseases Act.

All the ruling parties have given the green light to the fact that the proposal on restrictions on movement is moving forward to parliamentary consideration.

Relevant draft law was announced on wednesday.

Restrictions on movement would come into force in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and Turku, the worst epidemic areas, and would aim to prevent private parties, villages, extra shopping and shopping in the malls.

– Restrictions on movement affect parts of life that are not necessary for one’s daily life. There are no shops to close. Movement restrictions indirectly interfere with contacts outside the home. It is a whole that affects many points in our lives, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (sd) said at a news conference on Thursday.

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Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Kirsi Varhila considered that restrictions on movement were an “indirect means” of restricting people-to-people encounters in private events.

– Then it will not be possible to move to these weddings, parties and others where these infections have recently spread, Varhila comments.

Constitutional Specialist, Doctor of Public Administration Pauli Rautiainen says that “constitutional problems have been alleged to exist where they may not exist”.

– It has been pointed out that domestic peace would be a problem, and that is why we cannot regulate matters related to private space. If we look closely at section 58 of the Communicable Diseases Act, which regulates public events and gatherings, then the section includes apartments. The Committee on Constitutional Affairs has already allowed a certain type of domestic peace intervention in the fight against infectious diseases as early as 2016.

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According to Rautiainen, the development of section 58 of the Communicable Diseases Act should now be clarified. It is a clause that can be used to close, among other things, public events and gatherings.

– It should be examined whether a brief statement could be added to the Communicable Diseases Act stating that Article 58 may also prohibit the holding of other public gatherings corresponding to a public event.

– This would be a more elegant way to intervene in private parties, and this presentation does not explain why such a way has not been chosen. The biggest problem with the show is rearwardness, trying to address activities in private spaces in particular by blocking movement in public spaces, and building quite a dimmer.

Marin has described restrictions on movement as a “latch” that would work better than a “screwdriver that would point different positions at points”.

Rautiainen would rather dig a screwdriver out of the toolbox.

– The performance is exceptionally harsh, here people are moderately locked in their homes. Using a screwdriver, strike a screw that could be screwed with a screwdriver. If it were possible to intervene in private meetings with a screwdriver, has it really been established to the end that this cannot be done?

Regional state Administrative Agency According to Rautiainen, when banning public events, it could also make a ban decision on private events.

– If normal police action were taken to enforce this ban on private events under the Communicable Diseases Act, this arrangement could, in my view, be built.

According to Rautiainen, if the situation could not be addressed by developing the Infectious Diseases Act, one should ask whether the proposal is “really so severe”.

– Would it not be simplest to start, as has generally been the case in Europe, with restrictions at night. This would require impact assessments, which the draft does not include. This is followed by the question of how to start tackling the impact on vulnerable groups such as children and young people. It requires an overall impact assessment, which is not the case.

Government According to Rautiainen, another question arises about the actions.

– Why has the government never wanted to open section 58 of the Communicable Diseases Act once during the interest rate crisis? When restaurant locks were built in the spring of 2020, they were not built in connection with this section, but were built separately. An arrangement would now be built again that would not open this section. What is the reasoning that the development of this article is not enough? My guess is that this is due to the world of emergency law. It is as if there is a desire to structure corona activities through drastic measures.

Rautiainen emphasizes that there is no ambiguity as to whether society would not be allowed to impose stricter restrictions on contacts from the point of view of the Constitution. Especially in areas where the epidemic has worsened.

– The only issue is that the measures must be properly sized in relation to the intended benefit and their effects.

The Committee on Constitutional Affairs comments to IS that restrictions on movement would be the most significant interference in the fundamental rights of Finns in decades.

– Perhaps even the most significant interference with fundamental rights since the wars. The Committee on Constitutional Affairs has a really sensitive place.

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