Covid-19 is a gift for authoritarians and dictators

Sallie Anderson

The remarkable crisis we are experiencing as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic is most likely to produce numerous changes at the political, financial and social level.

It is safe to state that the world, especially our society and our ‘Western’ way of living as we have actually understood it, will not be the very same as previously.

The ‘much better world’ that the generation prior to us built after the Second World War, even with all its constraints, is in danger of being interfered with and erased.

At this time, albeit with various timeframes, methods and results, the world’s leaders are taken part in this fight and are diverting the optimal resources possible to this end, while public viewpoint and the mass media are appropriately concentrating on the health threats for mankind, particularly weaker and poorer populations, and on the threats for the world’s economies, which danger a stage of stagnancy and anxiety with couple of equates to in history.

Nevertheless, even in this emergency situation, it is essential to preserve a really high level of attention to what is taking place to democracy in this historic stage. The battle versus the pandemic can not be utilized as a pretext for a global attack on human rights and democracy, as is sadly taking place in a number of parts of the world.

We are not ‘diverting attention’. Rather the opposite.

While we are doing whatever we can to stop the contagion and start thinking of how to leave the pandemic socially and financially, we likewise need to evaluate the threats for democracy and human rights at a global scale. It is vital to make sure ‘now’ likewise of democracy and rights, due to the fact that ‘later on’ there is a real danger of regression, and without them our future can just be darker.

3 problems emerge to name a few:

First, we are experiencing the progressive “suspension” of democratic warranties: while some steps limiting specific liberty or personal privacy can be warranted and comprehended for health factors, particularly if they are momentary, others are inappropriate and really hazardous.

The actual cancellation of democracy executed by Orban can just be met by a vehement European response.

Totalitarian within the EU

A dictatorship can not belong to Europe.

Second, numerous countries, on the pretext of Covid-19, are silently benefiting from the absence of world public viewpoint response to limit the space and quality of democracy and get rid of challengers and human rights protectors.

Simply to discuss a couple of examples:

In Iran, the authorities are completely reducing anti-government demonstrations.

In Egypt, the jail time of human rights protector Ibrahim Ezz El-Din and student Patrick Zaky is being arbitrarily extende.

In Saudi Arabia, Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz al Saud who was unjustifiably under house arrest given that 2018 was taken and by force vanished by Saudi authorities, his fate unknown.

In Algeria, Karim Tabbou has actually been founded guilty on appeal without the existence of his legal representatives.

In Turkey, convictions are validated for demonstrators in Gezi Park, consisting of Osman Kavala.

And in Thailand, anybody who criticises the federal government’s actions on Covid-19 or exposes scandals and corruption in the health sector suffers heavy retaliation.

The list might sadly continue.

Lastly, refugees in camps, detainees in every nation on the planet, homeless people, who deserve to be safeguarded and protected as far as possible versus the epidemic, need to not be forgotten in the emergency situation.

In this context, Europe can not waive its leading role in the security of human rights.

We for that reason invite the joint proposition provided last Wednesday, 25 March, by the EU High Agent for Foreign Affairs and the European Commission to the European Council to embrace a decision on the “EU Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024“.

This consists of, inter alia, reinforcing the EU’s management in promoting and safeguarding human rights and democracy worldwide, and recognizing concerns for action, increasing the EU’s role on the world phase by broadening the”human rights toolbox”


An essential relocation was the proposition that provides associating with the EU’s human rights policy on the planet must no longer undergo unanimity however to certified bulk ballot, in order to prevent vetoes and rejections by countries now in hazardous drift.

Without wanting to make a profane contrast, we bear in mind that as the Second World War was raving, Altiero Spinelli, from his confinement in Ventotene, believed and thought of a brand-new, flourishing and totally free Europe, as did Jean Monnet and others.

They developed the conditions for Schuman, De Gasperi, Adenauer and Spaak to offer life and body to that dream.

Today we are at war: we need to combat without forgetting our past, without rejecting our worths and the still legitimate factors that triggered the European dream.

This is the responsibility for our generation: to ensure that Europe measures up to this historical difficulty.

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