By Nikki Pfadt, Senior Analyst, Subsaharan Africa Section Analytical Question: State of democracy and human rights in Ethiopia | Date: 26 March 2020 International organizations have recently called upon the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, to end an internet shutdown in the Oromia region of the country that is blocking millions of Ethiopians from …
Over the past few of weeks, COVID-19, the life-threatening disease that is caused by SARS-COV-2 (novel coronavirus) has wreaked havoc on the United States. Thus far, this pandemic has brought unprecedented orders by public officials, such as school cancellations, restaurant and bar closures, and even limitations as to when and who can venture in public. This new reality raises the question of what extent federal and local governments will go to in order to maintain virus-containment and public order. This question has brought the term martial law into the spotlight. Martial law is commonly defined as the act of suspending all civil authority, such as state and local governments, and placing the areas in their jurisdiction under the control of the US Armed Forces. In addition, the implementation of martial law can include the temporarily suspension of various constitutional rights.
For countries that are currently enforcing strict national lockdowns, such as Italy, Spain, and previously China, it can be stated with low confidence that non-essential international travel bans will last for at least three to five months. If countries like the US and the UK, which have not yet imposed strict measures, go into a national lockdown within the next week, it can be stated with low confidence that the travel ban will last for the next three to five months. However, if such countries choose not to implement lockdowns, it can be stated with low confidence that travel bans will last no more than two months. For countries that have seen COVID-19 cases, but have not been majorly effected, nor have implement lockdowns, such as many of the Latin American and African countries, it can be stated with low confidence that travel bans will last no longer than two months.
Following a seven month ban of social media, the Indian government has eased Internet restrictions in India’s Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory. We assess, with moderate confidence, that this will result in decreased political stability and increased police activity in the Jammu and Kashmir region, which will likely result in increased ethnic tensions in the region. On March 4, the Home Department of Jammu and Kashmir released an order restricting Internet speed to 2G. As the new order does not include “white-listed” websites or place restrictions on Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) as past orders did, it marks the end of a ban on social media sites that had been in place since August 2019. The current order is active through March 17, unless modified earlier.