COVID-19 Crackdowns – Police abuse and the global pandemic
Governments around the world are responding to an unprecedented public health crisis. Experience has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic needs to be addressed through evidence-based public health measures rooted in respect for human rights. But, while some states have emphasized empowerment and community engagement, in at least 60 countries documented in this briefing, authorities have adopted punitive and coercive measures that have resulted in human rights violations, divided societies and failed to tackle the health crisis. In many countries this has meant that law enforcement measures designed to contain COVID-19 and stop the spread of infections are doing more harm than good and in fact undermine the right to health. Far from containing the virus, decisions to arrest, detain, use force and forcibly disperse assemblies have risked increasing contagion – for both the law enforcement officials involved and those affected by police actions.