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COVID-19 used as cover to shrink civic space

JustSecurityCOVID19inNigeria

A piece by 2016 Tutu Fellow Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri titled COVID-19 and the shrinking civic space in Nigeria has been published in Just Security. Victoria is the founder and director of research and policy at Spaces for Change, a non-profit organization based in Nigeria that conducts research and advocacy that includes a focus on defending the civic space.

Victoria's piece examines how the coronavirus pandemic is being used as a cover to shrink civic in the name of 'national security'.  With people's attention on public health, what is being missed is the more worrying concern that state actors are exploiting the pandemic to stifle dissent, clamp down on civic freedoms, and push through restrictive measures, using COVID-19 as a pretext.

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Letter from a CSO Apologist to a CSO Skeptic

civil-society

The basic freedoms of expression, association and assembly have come under unprecedented attack in Tanzania in recent years. New laws have been passed and are being enthusiastically enforced to discourage dissent or views critical or alternative to the official narrative. Journalists have been detained, charged, imprisoned or disappeared and feared dead. Individual citizens have been harassed, arrested, charged and fined for expressing themselves on social media.

Opposition political party activity has been severely curtailed – rallies are banned, leaders are tied up in court on charges of incitement. Apolitical civil society organizations, especially those working in governance and human rights face significant additional scrutiny presumably to encourage their obedience to the government’s agenda.

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