From the Introduction: "As governments worldwide administer lockdowns, travel limitations, and other restrictions to respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, some experts have warned of a 'parallel epidemic' of government repression. Proponents of this view maintain that some governments are using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to consolidate political power undemocratically or impose undue restrictions on the exercise of civil and political rights. Meanwhile, even when restrictions may be justified on the basis of public health, the manner of application and enforcement of these measures may raise human rights concerns in some cases. Some Members of Congress have expressed alarm over the implications of COVID-19 for democracy and human rights trends, as evidenced by statements and legislation introduced to date. At the same time, COVID-19's ramifications in this area are diverse and evolving. This In Brief report discusses key democracy and human rights concerns raised by experts and advocates, includes brief country case studies, and discusses potential congressional policy responses. Although some issues discussed herein may be relevant to domestic debates in the United States, this report focuses on democracy and human rights issues internationally and in relation to U.S. foreign policy."
CRS Report for Congress, R46430
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/