Former leaders have warned that some countries use the virus to criticize 'silent critics'

LONDON The Covid-19 pandemic has sparked authoritarian behavior by governments around the world, threatening democracy, warned hundreds of former prime ministers, presidents, Nobel laureates, and lawmakers.

The virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December and has since spread across the globe, spreading across Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Africa, including free movement, free speech, public meetings, and multiple rights to restrict citizens.

In an open letter conducted by Stockholm's Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, the 500 signatures, including more than 60 former leaders, wrote, "Not surprisingly, but to silence critics and strengthen its political grip on the crisis." "The idea).

"Some democratically elected governments are also fighting the epidemic of emergency rights that limit human rights and increase state surveillance without legal (or) parliamentary oversight."

According to the United States International Center for Nonprofit Law, more than 80 countries have implemented emergency measures ranging from curfews and fines to extra surveillance, censorship and executive powers.

The IDEA secretary-general said that the overall impact was the dilution of democratic norms, political independence, and governments dealing with crises and future health emergencies.

He said that the Philippines, Hungary, El Salvador and Turkey were countries that initiated authoritarian actions or were less accountable.

"There are valid reasons to start emergency powers. However, it is always problematic when the government uses emergency powers to block free media and other fundamental rights," said Kevin Casas-Zamora, former vice president and Costa Rica government minister.

“We want to draw attention to the plight of democracy in the midst of this crisis.

According to IDEA, the outbreak has already postponed or abolished 66 elections worldwide, making it the third national election. Approximately 50 countries have enacted some form of ban on press freedom, of which 21 are democratic countries.

With signatories including former Brazil president Fernando Henrique Cardoso and former Florida governor Jeb Bush, citizens will begin to accept more authoritarian behavior.

"Democracy is in jeopardy. People who care about it should call it will, discipline and solidarity to protect it. People's liberty, health and dignity are everywhere at risk," he said.

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