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Albright, McMaster, Jeb Bush among figures warning coronavirus threatens democracy

Officials who have served under presidents of both parties signed on to an open letter warning that the coronavirus pandemic threatens the future of liberal democracy. 

The letter states that some democratically elected governments are “fighting the pandemic by amassing emergency powers that restrict human rights and enhance state surveillance without regard to legal constraints.” 

“Parliaments are being sidelined, journalists are being arrested and harassed, minorities are being scapegoated, and the most vulnerable sectors of the population face alarming new dangers as the economic lockdowns ravage the very fabric of societies everywhere,” states the open letter, from the Stockholm-based think tank IDEA.

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The letter is signed by officials from across the globe, including former Clinton administration Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and H.R. McMaster, a past national security adviser under President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol MORE

The letter states that “repression will not help control the pandemic” and that “these assaults on freedom, transparency, and democracy will make it more difficult for societies to respond quickly and effectively to the crisis through both government and civic action.”

The letter was written as governments across the globe take action to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The governments of China, Egypt, Turkey, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia and Bolivia have censored critics of their response to the coronavirus, the executive director of Human Rights Watch said last month

In the U.S., United Kingdom and European Union, governments have increased collection of visa and immigrant data and counterterrorism powers amid the pandemic, Reuters reported in April.