By Benjamin Jumbe
The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative has joined the global campaign to defend democracy amid the COVID 19 crisis.
In an open letter signed by more than 500 political, civil leaders, and pro-democracy institutions, the rights defenders warn that cherished freedoms are under threat from governments that are using the crisis to tighten their grip on power.
The letter says while it is unsurprising that authoritarian regimes are using the crisis to tighten their grip on power, some democracies have also introduced emergency powers without the necessary safeguards to ensure measures can be rolled back.
Dr. Livingstone Sewanyana, the Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative and United Nations Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order says this is no exception to Uganda already facing an open-ended lockdown that is gradually causing an economy breakdown and a range of dangers including threat to electoral democracy with the scientific approach to elections announced recently.
The letter is aimed at raising awareness and mobilizing citizens and policymakers to protect democracy–recognizing that this is the most effective system for handling global crises while protecting the rights of all citizens, particularly minorities and vulnerable groups.