Across Africa, Pandemic Lockdowns Risk Violating Human Rights

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04/10/2020

More than half of Africa’s 54 countries are restricting people’s movements in hopes of slowing the spread of the coronavirus, with regulations ranging from evening curfews to the total lockdowns that have been imposed in South Africa, Rwanda and, as of this week, the Seychelles. As those constraints expand, so are concerns about the violation of rights, including the violent tactics being used to enforce some of the new rules. In Kenya, where the government introduced sweeping restrictions on movement in late March, security forces have been accused of killing seven civilians, including a 13-year-old boy who was shot on his balcony when police fired in the air to scatter a crowd. Police in South Africa have killed at least eight people since the country went into a coronavirus lockdown two weeks ago, according to a state oversight body. And police officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo actually circulated a video of an officer beating a taxi driver as a warning to other drivers not to violate a rule against carrying more than one passenger.

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