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COVID-19 Empowers & Creates Tyrants

By Charlotte Robinson, April 02, 2020
As leaders around the world pass emergency decrees & legislation expanding their reach during the Coronavirus pandemic the big concern is if they relinquish this power after the pandemic subsides. We’re watching daily how the Trump administration is handling this situation but in other countries it’s even more questionable. In Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has taken the authority to impose curfews & censor the news media as journalists are being sued & intimidated for criticizing the government’s response to the outbreak. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel authorized an internal security agency to track citizens using a secret trove of cellphone data developed for counterterrorism. By tracing people’s movements the government can punish those who defy isolation orders with up to six months in prison. Fionnuala Ni Aolain, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Counterterrorism & Human Rights stated, “We could have a parallel epidemic of authoritarian & repressive measures following close if not on the heels of a health epidemic.” Globally with new emergency laws there has been a resurgence of old fears of martial law. The Philippine Congress passed legislation last week that gave President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers & $5.4 billion to deal with the pandemic. Lawmakers watered down an earlier draft law that would have allowed the president to take over private businesses. Concerned Lawyers for Civil Liberties a Philippine Rights Group stated, “This limitless grant of emergency powers is tantamount to autocracy”, noting that Mr. Duterte had once compared the country’s Constitution to a “scrap of toilet paper.” So Stay Safe & Healthy but with Eyes Wide Open.
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