The Philippines has apprehended 120,000 people for curfew violations in the past 30 days [Aaron Favila/AP]

The United Nations human rights chief has warned that countries flouting the rule of law in the name of fighting the novel coronavirus pandemic risk sparking a “human rights disaster”.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called on countries to refrain from violating fundamental rights “under the guise of exceptional or emergency measures”.


“Emergency powers should not be a weapon governments can wield to quash dissent, control the population, and even perpetuate their time in power,” she warned in a statement on Monday.

“They should be used to cope effectively with the pandemic – nothing more, nothing less.”

A top official from her office

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