Civic Freedoms and the COVID-19 Pandemic: A snapshot of restrictions and attacks

This CIVICUS report published in April 2021 provides a snapshot of the range of restrictions on freedoms that have been introduced in attempts to curb the pandemic, and the troubling impacts these have had on human rights and the space for civil society.

"Civic space is the bedrock of any open and democratic society and is rooted in the fundamental freedoms of people to associate, assemble peacefully and freely express their views and opinions. Since 2016, the CIVICUS Monitor has documented and analysed the state of civic space in 196 countries.

States have taken measures that include emergency laws, nationwide lockdowns and restrictions on movement. But one month after the declaration of the pandemic, CIVICUS has documented several alarming civic space trends that have resulted. These are:

  • Unjustified restrictions on access to information and censorship;
  • Detentions of activists for disseminating critical information;
  • Crackdowns on human rights defenders and media outlets;
  • Violations of the right to privacy and overly broad emergency powers."
CIVICUS April 2021 report cover