Coronavirus in Africa: Emergency laws v individual rights

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Discussion posted by: Arye ben-Shaoul

Armed variously with guns, whips and tear gas canisters, security officers in several African countries have been beating, harassing and, in some cases, killing people as they enforce measures aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19. The actions of the police and military are at the sharp end of a debate over the balance between personal freedoms and human rights on the one hand, and the need to protect society as a whole from coronavirus on the other. Faced with a growing health crisis, some African governments have introduced new emergency laws and digital surveillance echoing an earlier and more oppressive era. Rights groups have warned that if they are not reversed once the crisis is over then these new measures could undermine basic freedoms.