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UN chief slams countries using Covid-19 pandemic as ‘pretext’ to crush dissent

The United Nations today harshly criticised countries that are using the pandemic to justify cracking down on dissent and suppressing criticism.

UN chief slams countries using Covid-19 pandemic as ‘pretext’ to crush dissent

UN chief slams countries using Covid-19 pandemic as ‘pretext’ to crush dissent

STEPANAKERT, FEBRUARY 22, ARTSAKHPRESS: Speaking at the opening of the UN Human Rights Council’s main annual session, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres charged that authorities in a number of nations were using restrictions meant to halt the spread of Covid-19 to weaken their political opposition.

“Using the pandemic as a pretext, authorities in some countries have deployed heavy-handed security responses and emergency measures to crush dissent, criminalise basic freedoms, silence independent reporting and curtail the activities of non-governmental organisations,” Malaymail.com quoted him as saying.

But the Secretary-General did not name specific countries.

Speaking in a pre-recorded video message to the largely virtual meeting of the Geneva-based body, the UN chief lamented that “pandemic-related restrictions are being used to subvert electoral processes, weaken opposition voices and suppress criticism” in some countries.

At the same time, he said, “human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, political activists, and even medical professionals are being detained, prosecuted and subjected to intimidation and surveillance for criticising government pandemic responses — or the lack thereof.” 


     

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