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Coronavirus: Mapping cases of excesive use of force by law enforcement. Dismantling democracy?

Throughout this outbreak we have been gripped by the Johns Hopkins University world map showing the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Now the Manchester-based Omega Research Foundation has published another kind of coronavirus map, plotting the spread of coronavirus-related civil rights abuses.

The researchers say:

In recent months many states have created emergency powers to slow the spread of coronavirus. Law enforcement agencies have frequently been tasked with enforcing lockdowns, quarantine and social distancing measures. During this time a large number of allegations of excessive force in implementing such measures have emerged.

… This map seeks to gather together instances of alleged excessive use of force that have occurred in the context of coronavirus measure or protests arising from coronavirus-related concerns. Due to the sheer number of cases the map does not include all incidents reported; instead it seeks to provide a barometer of the nature and geographic spread of such cases.

Omega has found evidence of police using excessive force around the world.
Over the past few weeks Omega has been collating information about incidents of alleged use of force that have occurred globally in the context of coronavirus measures or protests arising from coronavirus-related concerns.
Explore the updated map here:

Omega Research Foundation

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the novel coronavirus could give some countries an excuse to adopt repressive measures for reasons unrelated to the pandemic as he warned that the outbreak risks becoming a human rights crisis.

Questions have been raised about whether police have been abusing their powers to enforce lockdowns in Europe.

Guterres called on governments to be transparent, responsive and accountable and stressed that civic space and press freedom were “critical”.

He said: “The best response is one that responds proportionately to immediate threats while protecting human rights and the rule of law.”

With businesses shut down and hundreds of millions of people told to stay home to avoid spreading the virus, the International Monetary Fund has predicted the world will suffer its steepest downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The UN report said the pandemic was creating further hardship that “if not mitigated, will raise tension and could provoke civil unrest”, adding that this could then lead to a heavy-handed security response.

“In all we do, let’s never forget: The threat is the virus, not people,” Guterres said.

Rights activists fret that emergency restrictions on freedom of movement and expression, along with electronic surveillance, are dangerous encroachments on civil liberties

Header: Serbian army soldiers patrol in Belgrade’s main pedestrian street, in Serbia, March 26, 2020. (Darko Vojinovic/AP)