Heiko Maas concerned about Human Rights in countries like Iran amid coronavirus pandemic
In his recent speech at Germany’s parliament (Bundestag), the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned about using coronavirus pandemic as a justification for the violation of human rights in authoritarian countries like Iran.
Heiko Maas told the Bundestag on Friday. The outbreak of COVID-19 has had serious consequences for human rights, with authoritarian leaders taking advantage of the pandemic to exert greater authority.
"We are observing with great concern how the crisis is boosting authoritarians," he continued.
Maas listed repressive measures taken against journalists in Iran, Russia, Venezuela, Turkey, and China as examples of responses to the pandemic, all of which are designed to repress freedoms.
But he also expressed concerns about similar measures taken in some European countries like Hungary: “Right here in Europe we are seeing how emergency measures are being used to cut back the rule of law."
Iranian cyber police recently reported that over 320 citizens have been arrested for what was referred to as “creating public panic”.
Dozens of social media activists and journalists have been arrested since the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic in Iran on similar charges.