15:49 GMT04 August 2021
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    There has been growing concern over what civil liberties groups and segments of the public see as overreach by governments during their efforts to tackle the coronavirus disease 2019 as it continues to spread around the world.

    A new website has emerged cataloguing the various measures being implemented by states around the world, amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The COVID-19 Civic Freedom Tracker, "monitors government responses to the pandemic that affect civic freedoms and human rights, focusing on emergency laws", it says.

    The tracker is part of a joint project with the International Center for Not-For-Profit-Law (ICNL), the European Center for Not-For-Profit-Law (ECNL) and Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.

    The COVID-19 Civic Freedom Tracker lists countries alphabetically, while also providing a synopsis of what was introduced, the manner the rule or law came into being and the date it was passed. A link is also provided to the primary source or citation for the rule or law.

    There are already 111 entries on the site which says that maintaining the tracker is an "ongoing effort" and which accepts updates and suggestions from the public.

    Algeria - Entry in COVID-19 Civic Freedoms Tracker
    Australia - Entry in COVID-19 Civic Freedoms Tracker
    China - Entry in COVID-19 Civic Freedoms Tracker
    United Kingdom - Entry in COVID-19 Civic Freedoms Tracker

    The website will likely prove to be a useful resource for journalists, researchers and academics.

    The ICNL notes that crisis can be used as a "pretext" by governments to infringe rights. They quote Ní Aoláin, who explains, “states and security sector institutions will find emergency powers attractive because they offer shortcuts", with the result being that powers obtained during emergencies have a habit of becoming permanent.


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    World, civil liberties, human rights, COVID-19, life under COVID-19 quarantine
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