More than 500 prominent persons have warned of the threat to democracy amid the epidemic
More than 500 renowned personalities and organizations from around the world warned in an open letter, published June 25, about the "threat" arising from the actions of "some governments", resulting in harm to democracy amid the new coronavirus crisis, AFP and DPA reported.
"Even some democratically elected governments are fighting the pandemic, concentrating extraordinary powers in their hands that restrict human rights and strengthen state control, ignoring legal constrains, parliamentary scrutiny or schedules to restore constitutional order, "the message said.
"It is no coincidence that the current pandemic began in a country where the free flow of information is limited and the government punishes those who warn of the danger of the virus - warnings that are perceived as spreading rumors, damaging the country's prestige," the letter said, referring to China.
"The Covid-19 crisis is an alarming call, a clear warning that the freedoms we cherish are at risk and should not be taken for granted," the opinion-makers underlined.
Thirteen Nobel laureates are among the signatories of the open letter, initiated by the International Institute for Democracy and Election Assistance (IDEA) in Stockholm, including former Polish President Lech Walesa, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and Belarusian writer and investigative journalist Svetlana Aleksievich, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2015. Other eminent people who signed the open letter include US actor Richard Gere, former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.