Stop coronavirus from being used to suppress freedoms

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Stop coronavirus from being used to suppress freedoms

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Stop coronavirus from being used to suppress freedoms

It goes without saying that the global Coronavirus pandemic has had a life-changing effect on people everywhere. We have all experienced restrictions in some way or another.

Whether it has been the closure of churches inhibiting our freedom to worship, or small family businesses collapsing due to financial difficulty, we have faced hardship in varying degrees.

It makes sense that governments around the world should enforce certain health directions due to the heightened levels of threat to public health, however there has been an alarming trend of authorities using the Coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to further entrench repressive, authoritarian measures -- actions which can be seen as overreaching the limits in place under international human rights laws on government powers during emergencies.  

“How and where is freedom under threat?” you may be asking. Increased surveillance on citizens, restrictions on free expression and information, and limits on public participation in protests are just a few. And all of these are happening right here in Australia.

Placing the entire populace under house arrest and expecting nothing less than complete obedience and unquestioning submission from citizens should ignite concern.

Perhaps the most recent violation of human rights was seen recently in the state of Victoria, Australia.

Last week, a viral video of pregnant mother Zoe Buhler being handcuffed in Victoria over an anti-lockdown protest event post she created on Facebook sparked a media firestorm. Ms Buhler was not asking people to not wear masks or social distance, in fact she made it clear that protestors were to observe such precautions.

Her “crime” was simply posting on Facebook “to stand for human rights” by asking people to make signs and peacefully protest. And police insisted on arresting the pregnant mother despite her saying she could simply delete her post.

How has Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews allowed this despicable treatment of a citizen to happen under his watch? This is just one symptom of a much bigger problem. And the worrying part is that Prime Minister Scott Morrison has publicly come out in “full support” of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, including his imposition of what can be best described as de facto martial law in the state.

This is concerning and it needs to stop. That is why we are asking you today to call upon Prime Minister Scott Morrison to publicly insist Premiers of each state in Australia protect our most basic democratic rights.

Of course, some of the restrictions in other states such as South Australia are not as draconian. Nevertheless, when our most basic freedoms are held in the delicate balance of unsavoury political ideologues, it begs the question “where and when do we start drawing lines in the sand?”

The arbitrary nature of government dictation as to what citizens can and cannot do has been appalling. The Victorian Premier allowed a Black Lives Matter protest -- which drew thousands -- to go ahead and yet young pregnant mum Zoe Buhler was arrested for even daring to bring into question the government’s lockdown measures. 

We are being told there has been no evidence linking Black Lives Matter protests to the second wave of cases in Melbourne and wider Victoria, so therefore a small town rally that did in fact go ahead and garnered a couple hundred protesters at best, is no threat.

Without reliable data to support the rationale behind draconian lockdown measures, it really is one big game of trial and error with a sinister agenda to restrict democratic freedoms under the guise of coronavirus countermeasures.

With suicide rates in Australia forecasted to skyrocket by 50 percent, it’s little wonder that the reckless restrictions on freedom and the resulting socio-economic impact have something to do with that.

As The Australian columnist Janet Albrechtsen wrote “no politician is going to be held responsible for the future suicide of an unemployed young man who has lost hope. But they imagine they will be held responsible for the immediate death of a 94-year old from, or with, COVID-19.”

Add your name to the petition calling upon the Prime Minister and Premiers to protect fundamental rights to freedom of speech, conscience and expression.

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Stop coronavirus from being used to erode freedoms

Petition to: Prime Minister Scott Morrison 

I would like to express concern over the way in which fundamental democratic freedoms -- freedoms that I and many others hold dear -- are being eroded by the heavy-handed nature of government countermeasures seeking to “flatten the curve” of the Coronavirus.

Increased surveillance on citizens, restrictions on free expression and information, and limits on public participation in protests are just a few areas in which democratic freedoms are being undermined.

I would like to remind governments at both federal and state level of their obligations to protect the rights of the people. These rights can be found under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) -- which Australia is a signatory to.

Last week, a viral video of pregnant mother Zoe Buhler being handcuffed in Victoria over an anti-lockdown protest event post she created on Facebook sparked a media firestorm. Ms Buhler was not asking people to not wear masks or social distance, in fact she made it clear that protestors were to observe such precautions.

Her “crime” was simply posting on Facebook “to stand for human rights” by asking people to make signs and peacefully protest. And police insisted on arresting the pregnant mother despite her saying she could simply delete her post.

I am asking you to ensure our most basic human rights and freedoms are free from violation during this coronavirus outbreak.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Stop coronavirus from being used to suppress freedoms

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5,364 people have signed. Help us reach 10,000 signatures.