COVID-19: Excessive use of force by State and non-state actors

22 June 2020

National Human Rights Institutions across the Commonwealth have raised concerns about excessive use of force by police and security services, and by non-state actors, to enforce COVID-19 control measures. Examples of excessive use of force have included beatings, extra-judicial killings, torture and cruel and degrading treatment.

Human Rights Watch has drawn up several questions NHRI’s can ask of their governments regarding the restriction of liberty and use of force during the COVID-19 lockdown:

  1. Are emergency powers used in a way that is lawful, necessary, and proportionate?
  2. Are emergency powers time-bound and covered by legislative or judicial oversight?
  3. Is your government reporting any derogations (temporary suspension of performance of human rights obligations) to relevant treaty bodies?
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