the world, feared Human rights activists. They said the number of human rights abuses tied to the
COVID-19 pandemic are incresing.
Amnesty International USA, the U.S.-based arm of the international rights group said that leaders
from South America to Southeast Asia are using the virus as an excuse to crack down on their
opponents while doing little to protect vulnerable populations such as prisoners, refugees and
“More than 80 countries have declared states of emergency and there are growing reports of human
rights abuses around the globe,” said Joanne Lin, AIUSA’s national director of advocacy and
government affairs. “Some world leaders are taking advantage of contagion in order to crack down
on civilians in ways previously not seen pre-COVID-19.”
It also raised concerns about governments that have tried to squash information about the virus,
which has spread to all but one continent and killed more than 228,200 as of Thursday morning. In
some cases, it said, governments have used jail time, harassment or other measures to silence
media, doctors and other critics who have tried to shine light on the pandemic.
For many parts of the world still reeling from war, civil unrest, migration crises and other disasters,
the COVID-19 pandemic adds yet another layer of emergency to which leaders may be unwilling or
unable to respond, the group said.
While the threats to human rights vary by country, AIUSA said nearly every region of the world has
cause for concern.
Africa, a continent of 1.3 billion people, recently saw a 43% jump in reported COVID-19 cases,
according to Lin. The World Health Organization has warned that Africa could become an epicenter
for the outbreak, but its health care system is already fragile, and a shortage of doctors make it even
more ill-prepared for COVID-19, said Adotei Akwei, AIUSA deputy director for advocacy and