Amnesty International says measures taken in response to the Coronavirus pandemic have exacerbated issues of abuse of power and inequality in Europe and Central Asia. The group says some governments are using the crisis “as a pretext to seize power, restrict freedom and ignore human rights obligations.”
Governments’ response to Covid-19 “shows the human cost of exclusion, inequality and state misconduct,” according to the London-based organization’s annual report.
According to the report, most countries in the region, due to the pandemic and in order to reduce the spread of Covid-19, imposed certain restrictions, declared a state of emergency, restricting freedom of movement, expression and peaceful assembly.
The so-called Vulnerable individuals and groups were disproportionately affected by the “lockdown”. The organization claims that law enforcement officers used force illegally, among other violations, including in Georgia.
The report mentions “the case of cartographers” and the use of force during the November 8 rally in front of the CEC.
„[საქართველოში] Local civil society continues to raise concerns about politically motivated persecution. In October, two cartographers working to delimit the border between Georgia and Azerbaijan were arrested and charged with violating the country’s territorial integrity. Prosecutors said they used the wrong map and put Georgia at risk of handing over Azerbaijani territory. “Local civil society groups say the case was fabricated and aimed at dealing a political blow to the current opposition, which was in power during the border talks,” the report said.
Speaking to the Georgian Central Election Commission (CEC) after the election, the organization said that “on November 8, police used water cannons disproportionately and indiscriminately against pro-peaceful opposition protesters after individuals tried to report to the CEC.”
In its report, the organization also talks about the scarcity of labor standards and the detention and restriction of movement of ethnic Georgians in the occupied territories.
Speaking about the Caucasus and Eastern Europe, the report notes that there is often pressure on the judiciary, restrictions on journalists’ freedom and human rights.