Freedom: one other casualty of Covid-19 pandemic – AREWAAFFAIRS
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Freedom: one other casualty of Covid-19 pandemic

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Kenya 'headed for second wave of coronavirus'
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Measures imposed by governments to struggle the Covid-19 pandemic have squeezed civil liberties worldwide, with authoritarian regimes looking for to take advantage of the restrictions as a technique to shore up their typically shaky management on fast-changing societies, rights teams say.

Demonstrations have been outlawed, elections postponed, and activists topic to even higher repression in a well being emergency the political affect of which is able to nonetheless be felt when the pandemic is over.

In Guinea in west Africa, the federal government has banned all demonstrations till additional discover, citing the struggle towards Covid. Hungary in central Europe is underneath a state of emergency till February.

Bolivia postponed its basic elections for a number of months.

In France, residents needed to fill out a type earlier than being allowed to depart their properties throughout two lockdowns that lasted over three months in complete.

In accordance with the Sweden-based Worldwide Institute for Democracy and Electoral Help (IDEA), 61 p.c of nations had by the tip of November 2020 carried out measures to curb Covid-19 “that have been regarding from a democracy and human rights perspective.”

“These violated democratic requirements as a result of they have been both disproportionate, unlawful, indefinite or pointless in relation to the well being risk,” it mentioned in a report.

IDEA mentioned that whereas such troubling developments have been much less widespread in democracies they have been “nonetheless fairly widespread.”.

– ‘Cowl for violations’ –

UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet has additionally warned that whereas many states had adopted justifiable and short-term measures “there have additionally been deeply worrying circumstances the place governments seem like utilizing Covid-19 as a canopy for human rights violations.”

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Paris-based press freedom group Reporters With out Borders mentioned in a report on 2020 that emergency measures adopted to deal with the pandemic “visibly contributed to a information and data lockdown” and resulted in journalists being detained and typically jailed.

In accordance with US NGO Freedom Home, “the situation of democracy and human rights has grown worse in 80 international locations” because the pandemic started.

For example of worldwide traits it cited Sri Lanka, the place the federal government “accelerated its authoritarian agenda… stepping up efforts to manage unbiased reporting and unfavourable speech by ordering the arrest of anybody who criticises or contradicts the official line on the coronavirus.”

“We’ve seen in the previous couple of months the President (Gotabaya Rajapaksa) consolidating energy,” Bhavani Fonseka, senior researcher on the non-public Centre for Coverage Options think-tank in Colombo, instructed AFP decrying a “weakening of checks and balances.”

In China, the place the virus first emerged however has now largely been held in examine, the authorities have adopted extraordinarily coercive measures, with strict lockdowns of very giant areas, large screening and surveillance by drones.

In Egypt, the place President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is accused by activists of main an authoritarian regime that has locked up tens of 1000’s of opponents, the pandemic was an opportunity to additional squeeze liberties.

The pandemic “merely supplied the president a brand new guise inside which to cross and enact oppressive laws that both additional entrenches preexisting practices already or introduces new, harsher circumstances upon peculiar residents,” researcher Hafsa Halawa mentioned in a joint report by the US Atlantic Council and Italian ISPI assume tanks.

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A report by the European Council on Overseas Relations, (ECFR) sounded alarm over the response of states of the previous Yugoslavia within the western Balkans.

Governments there have typically taken “selective and arbitrary approaches to making use of restrictions” and typically used “these measures to silence their critics and opponents,” it mentioned.

– ‘Everlasting state of emergency’ –

However the affect on freedoms just isn’t confined to autocratic regimes. It is usually felt in liberal democracies, albeit in a much less blatant type.

The restrictions imposed for a lot of this 12 months would have been unthinkable to most Europeans even in January.

“Emergency powers carry a threat of abuse of energy by the chief” and of remaining in power even as soon as the emergency is over, that means “applicable parliamentary and judicial oversight” is required to restrict the danger, the EU parliament mentioned in November.

Italian thinker Giorgio Agamben has argued “the voluntary creation of a everlasting state of emergency — even when it isn’t declared within the technical sense — has change into one of many important practices of up to date states, together with these which can be supposedly democratic.”

The well being emergency declared in France to struggle the pandemic might be in comparison with the state of emergency imposed within the wake of a terror assault, mentioned Laureline Fontaine, professor in public legislation at Sorbonne Nouvelle college.

“We’ve change into used to dwelling with out freedom,” she mentioned.

– ‘Political disaster’ –

Even as soon as vaccines or different components handle to quell the unfold of the virus, the financial fallout from the pandemic dangers fuelling discontent which in flip might immediate extra restrictions.

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It’s “no shock” that in Russia frustration with President Vladimir Putin’s rule is rising because the financial penalties of the pandemic compound a decade of stagnation.

“The second-and third-order penalties of the disruptions and dislocations wrought by the pandemic could also be dramatic,” Andrei Kolesnikov and Denis Volkov argued in a examine for the Carnegie Moscow Middle.

Within the Center East, the poor response by state authorities to the pandemic and the strengthening of authoritarian practices “is probably to amplify dynamics and causes for discontent,” the Atlantic Council and ISPI warned of their report.

This may remodel the coronavirus disaster “from a well being disaster into an financial and political one,” they mentioned.

[AFP]

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Enugu feminine college students nonetheless beneath confinement by AMCON, 5 days after

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By Chinedu Adonu

No fewer than 344 college students of Windfall Excessive Faculty Enugu are nonetheless beneath confinement by the Asset Administration Firm of Nigeria, AMCON, as at Monday, January 25, 2021, 5 days after they locked up the entrances to the varsity with college students and employees contained in the premises.

The administration of the Faculty, has raised alarm over the lives of about 344 feminine college students of their faculty that are presently beneath critical menace following the actions of AMCON.

Additionally they described as unlucky the try by AMCON on Monday to discredit the studies of nationwide dailies, on detaining the scholars, saying the studies that it locked up the premises of the varsity with college students inside had been “spewed mischief and half truths relating to the true points concerning the enforcement train on the faculty”.

Its Head of Company Communication, Jude Nwauzor, said that the gates of the varsity had been “nonetheless open and actions ongoing”, including that the Firm couldn’t have “locked up a faculty providing social companies”. He said that what the officers did was to position the traditional discover of possession of the property and left.

However as at 5.30pm when Vanguard visited the varsity premises, your complete entrances had been nonetheless beneath lock and key, even because the administration of the varsity decried the “steady incarceration of the scholars and their lecturers by AMCON”.

Recall that AMCON officers led by one Nick Omeye had on Thursday, January 21 at about 5.30pm in firm with over 40 armed law enforcement officials locked up entrances to the boarding faculty following a courtroom order it obtained in 2016, empowering it to take possession of the varsity services.

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The Proprietor of the Faculty, Chief Mrs. Elizabeth Onwuagha addressing newsmen on AMCON’s denial of evasion on her faculty, mentioned that the gates of her faculty had been nonetheless beneath lock and keys of AMCON.

Mrs Onwuagha, advised reporters that AMCON was being deceitful and puzzled what profit would mendacity to the general public over the forceful seizure of the varsity’s services with its college students inside could be to them.

“I can’t perceive why anyone would say that this place isn’t beneath lock and key. It’s most unlucky that individuals will say that white is black. It’s unhappy.

”Allow them to inform the world how they invaded this place. As I’m speaking to you, in the present day January 25, 2021, at 5.10 pm, the gates are nonetheless beneath lock and key by AMCON.

”There isn’t a means we will fight any emergence. Human beings are right here. From 21st Jan when these gates had been locked until in the present day, Jan 25, the gates are nonetheless locked up with college students inside the varsity premises.

“See all these telephones belonging to my employees, they destroyed them, they had been smashed. I requested you to return due to the publication we learn in the present day in a lot of the newspapers the place AMCON is denying that they didn’t lock our gates, you possibly can see the gate yourselves gents that the gate continues to be beneath lock and key of AMCON”, she mentioned.

In the meantime, the Proprietor has known as on the authorities to name AMCON to order, “This is essential, there’s rampant kidnapping and raping, they’re now telling the lecturers everyone ought to depart, they are going to maintain the youngsters, solely God is aware of what they’ve up their sleeves, they are going to maintain which kids, 344 kids you don’t know?

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Narrating his ordeal within the arms of the AMCON officers and safety personnel, one of many employees, Ezekiel confirmed that he was overwhelmed and manhandled as a result of he appealed to them to know that college students had been within the faculty and that their violent strategy might trigger a lot hurt.

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C’River: EU-ECOWAS, LITE Africa kickstart destruction of over 200 arms, 5510 weapons

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C'River: EU-ECOWAS, LITE Africa kickstart destruction of over 200 arms, 5510 weapons
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Ayade destroying among the arms at U J Esuene stadium on Monday

By Ike Uchechukwu

The European Union, Financial Neighborhood of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Management Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment (LITE Africa) on Monday started the destruction of 260 arms and 5510 weapons in Calabar.

The arms and ammunitions had been those surrendered by members of the defunct Bakassi strike pressure,BSF, a militant group and members of some cult group within the state.

Talking in Calabar on Monday ,Cross River State Governor ,Prof Ben Ayade of Cross River, stated that the destruction of the arms and weapons would additional give residents of the state the need to work carefully with the state authorities and safety businesses.

Ayade, who stated there have been over 33 unlawful routes within the state, lamented that suspected armed smugglers had been proliferating the state with arms by way of the routes.

He counseled safety businesses within the state for working tirelessly to safe the state in collaboration with the Operation Akpakwu safety outfit established by the state authorities to struggle criminality.

His phrases :”I wish to enchantment to the Federal Authorities to seize the ex Bakassi militants underneath the Federal Authorities Amnesty programme. These youths who’ve surrendered their arms deserves an empowerment and higher rehabilitation to maintain them off the creeks,” he stated.

Ayade, who carried out the symbolic destruction of the arms, urged those that had been but to give up their arms to do and embrace peace for the expansion of the state.

LITE Africa consultant ,Mr Joel Bisina who spoke on behalf of EU-ECOWAS, stated that one can’t underestimate the hazards of illicit proliferation of small arms and lightweight weapons and the destructive affect they’ve on peace and stability in varied communities.

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Bisina stated that small arms and lightweight weapons had continued to have devastating results on socio-economic state of affairs in Nigeria and the West African subregion.

“In Nigeria, the industrial transaction in small arms and lightweight weapons has been on the rise for the reason that finish of the Nigerian Civil Struggle. The pattern has continued regardless of the illegality of the commerce.

“The vast availability, stockpile and illicit stream of such weapons are inclined to escalate conflicts; undermine peace settlement, intensify violence and affect on crime, impede financial and social improvement, enhance poverty and hinder democracy and good governance.

“In a bid to advertise peace, scale back armed battle and small arms proliferation within the area, LITE Africa and the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Gentle Weapons, with help from the EU/ECOWAS is working to strengthen the efforts at stopping additional proliferation and trafficking of illicit arms in Nigeria,” he stated.

Mr Dickson Orji, a consultant from the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Gentle Weapons, stated that the committee was arrange in 2013 with a mandate to be the point of interest within the efforts by Nigeria to stem the tide of proliferation of illicit arms.

Orji stated that the Nigerian part of the EU-ECOWAS small arms underneath the present pilot section focuses within the seven states of Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Cross River and Akwa Ibom.

END

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Impeachment #2: the cost towards Trump

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Shame on you, my Igbo people
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Donald Trump

The second impeachment of former US president Donald Trump rests on one article, or cost, of “incitement of revolt” arising from the January 6 assault on Congress.

The cost, set by the Home of Representatives, is being submitted to the Senate on Monday.

It grows from Trump’s two-month marketing campaign to overturn Joe Biden’s victory within the November three presidential election, alleging with out proof that it was based mostly on mass fraud.

On January 6, following a rousing speech by Trump close to the White Home, hundreds of his followers marched to the US Capitol and compelled their method inside, sending lawmakers fleeing and halting the joint Home-Senate session held to certify Biden’s victory.

The impeachment cost says that, within the months earlier than, Trump “repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election outcomes had been the results of widespread fraud and shouldn’t be accepted by the American folks or licensed by state or federal officers.”

Then on January 6, it says, Trump made statements “that in context, inspired — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless motion on the Capitol.”

Trump “incited” the group to halt the certification of Biden’s victory, and to menace the vice chairman, members of Congress and legislation enforcement officers, leading to accidents and deaths, the cost says.

It additionally locations the cost within the context of Trump’s “prior efforts to subvert and impede” Biden’s victory.

It cites a risk Trump made to Georgia’s secretary of state in a January 2 phone name to “discover” sufficient votes to overturn the election end result within the state, which went for Biden.

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“In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the safety of the US and its establishments of presidency,” the cost says.

“He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceable transition of energy, and imperiled a coequal department of presidency.”

“He thereby betrayed his belief as president,” damaging the nation.

[AFP]

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