South Africa: Democracy in Lockdown - Authorities Clamp Down On Pro-Democrats and Civilians Under Cover of COVID-19 Restrictions

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The Southern Africa Human Rights Roundup is aimed at highlighting important human rights news in southern Africa. It integrates efforts of human rights defenders and facilitates evidence-based engagement with key stakeholders and institutions. The weekly roundup is a collaboration between the Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network and Maverick Citizen.

There is mounting evidence showing that governments in southern Africa are increasingly cracking down on dissent by using excessive force to suppress public criticism of their failure to protect human rights, especially the rights of the poor and economically vulnerable during the Covid-19 lockdown measures.

The scale of police brutality has prompted us to release this follow-up article on the impact of lockdown measures on human rights and other forms of democracy, including the right to protest or demonstrate.

On 1 May 2020, we published an article focusing on this, titled Is Covid-19 in danger of killing electoral democracy in southern Africa, exploring how southern African countries are responding to the dual objectives of ensuring that measures to protect people from the pandemic do not negatively affect human rights and the strengthening of electoral democracy.

Immediately after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19 a global pandemic on 11 March,...

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