Under the cover of coronavirus, governments punish adversaries and reward friends
The decision in March by Sri Lanka’s newly elected president is part of a broader, disturbing trend in which governments around the world have punished opponents, rewarded friends and stifled dissent amid the global pandemic. The overwhelming nature of the fight against the disease combined with physical restrictions on citizens has meant that such actions incite less opposition at home and abroad than in the past.
In Bolivia, the government has arrested dozens of opponents under a new decree passed earlier in April. In India, authorities have pursued activists and journalists using a sweeping anti-terrorism statute. In Cambodia, at least 30 people — many of them opposition supporters — have been arrested ostensibly for spreading misinformation during the pandemic. Several governments have passed laws whose stated goal is to fight the coronavirus but that opponents say provide tools to crack down on critical voices and the media.
While emergency measures may be necessary to combat the spread of the virus, some governments “appear to be using COVID-19 as a cover for human rights …continued .
[Source: Washington Post]