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About Democracy Chronicles

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Asia, home to more than half the world’s population, is especially vulnerable to the collateral damage borne by coronavirus disease.
[dropcap font="" size="80px" background="" color="" circle="0" transparent="0"]T[/dropcap]oday’s global coronavirus outbreak, otherwise known as the Covid-19 pandemic, has unleashed untold challenges that go far beyond the havoc it wreaks on the human body.

From slow and haphazard delivery of emergency food assistance to starving communities, unwarranted displacement of the poor, marginalized and vulnerable sectors as shelter-in-place orders are enforced, to potentially indiscriminate use of digital surveillance technologies to monitor people’s movements, business-related exploitative practices taking advantage of quarantine measures in underdeveloped countries, enactment of legislation granting needless emergency powers to heads of state and draconian policies effectively breaching Constitutional guarantees and inalienable rights such as freedom of expression, as well as heavily militarized lockdown response by authoritarian and populist regimes – COVID-19 has evolved into a far more complex crisis that has become a convenient tool to crack down on basic rights while entrenching government leaders’ grip on power.
Asia, home to more than half the world’s population, is especially vulnerable to the collateral damage borne by coronavirus disease. Many of the region’s poor have been hit hardest by today’s crisis, not only in terms of access to direly needed pandemic relief but also through state measures that turn a blind eye to their plight or infringe on their essential freedoms.

While it is critical to ensure efficient government responses toward the containment of the disease, human rights advocates and watchdogs have warned against sacrificing fundamental freedoms while trying to save lives. This warning carries enormous resonance in the poorer parts of the Asian region – known for the decrepit state of their health systems and their peoples’ civil liberties, often honored in the breach than in the observance.
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Against the foregoing backdrop, the Asia Democracy Network (ADN) has embarked on the Democracy Chronicles project. This timely initiative aims to map the human rights and democratic landscape in the region in the wake of the global health crisis.
Ultimately, we hope to see a truly humane and rights-based response that puts people above any political and pecuniary interests.
Chronicling the state of democratic rights or fundamental freedoms – particularly in Asia – is expected to stoke further debate and enrich ongoing discourse about the linkages between health and human rights in the context of the coronavirus scourge. It is further hoped that stories from the ground as well as analysis and opinion pieces that will be featured on the Democracy Chronicles platform will help inform policy making and facilitate national, regional, and international efforts to thwart unacceptable state measures to tackle the pandemic. Ultimately, we hope to see a truly humane and rights-based response that puts people above any political and pecuniary interests.