How to Avoid a Covid Catastrophe in US Prisons: Daily Brief

Plus: governments are using the pandemic to tighten their grip; inhumane prison lockdown treatment in El Salvador; first Covid-19 case in psychiatric hospital in Ghana; a reminder of North Korea's totalitarianism; China's gender discrimination in hiring persists; new EU initiative on supply chain due diligence; and tune in for a new Instagram interview on women's rights.

Government officials in the United States should rapidly address the exploding Covid-19 crisis in US jails and prisons and follow baseline standards for social distancing, cleaning, and care, a new Human Rights Watch report highlights. 

The Covid-19 health crisis has deepened fears that autocratic governments around the world are using the pandemic to tighten their grip and increase their control of state institutions and civil society.

Poland's proposals for last minute changes to rules for Presidential election or extending current term call into question free & fair election. In addition, Brussels has launched legal action against the Polish government for undermining judicial independence.

Meanwhile in Hungary, prime minister Viktor Orbán has used the pandemic to declare dictatorship, and European leaders are letting him get away with it.

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has ordered a mandatory lockdown in prisons imposing inhumane conditions on the inmates that may amount to torture, degrading treatment or punishment.

In Ghana, Accra's Psychiatric Hospital has confirmed that a patient has tested positive for Covid-19, sparking deep concern and a need to act quickly.

‪North Korea’s dangerous, implausible claim that it has no Covid-19illustrates the government’s secretiveness, capacity for duplicity, and ability to force lies on its people... control built, of course, on totalitarianism", says Asia Advocacy Director John Sifton. 

China’s government should mark International Worker’s Day, May 1, by ending gender discrimination in its civil service recruitment, as job discrimination remains a widespread problem in the country.

On a more positive note, there's some good news from the EU, as Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders has just committed to new legislation which will require European companies to monitor respect for human rights and the environment in their supply chains.

And join us today on Instagram with a live conversation with Heather Barr about the impact of the coronavirus on women and women's rights.