Report says African Countries Are Exploiting COVID-19 Crisis To Clamp Down On Free Speech

Human Rights Watch, HRW says Several African governments are using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to crack down on the right to free speech and peaceful demonstration.

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Human Rights Watch, HRW says Several African governments are using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to crack down on the right to free speech and peaceful demonstration.

In a report published on Thursday the New York-based rights watchdog said Governments are targeting journalists, activists, healthcare workers and political opposition groups who criticise the response to the pandemic.

Gerry Simpson from HRW said the virus has also been used as a pretext to break up protests, close media houses, and make vague laws that criminalise free speech.

COVID-19 is used to justify attacks against critics, as well as detentions or sometimes killings of those who disagree with their handling of the health crisis.

The rights watchdog is calling on the UN Human Rights Council to investigate states and whether they honour human rights in their response to the pandemic.

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