States of Control – the dark side of pandemic politics

29 April 2020

Join our fifth COVID-19 webinar, which will examine authoritarian and repressive state responses to the Coronavirus pandemic, featuring a UN Special Rapporteur on Protecting Human Rights and other global experts and activists.

29 April 2020
16:00 - 17:30 CET

In response to an unprecedented global health emergency, many states are rolling out measures from deploying armies and drones to control public space, to expanding digital control through facial recognition technology and tracker apps. Although we are not at war, the narrative employed by political leaders, as well as the measures taken, would have us believe otherwise. Are these measures proportional and necessary to respond to the virus? Or are states taking advantage of this crisis to normalise new methods of mass control on entire populations? What if these measures become permanent once the pandemic has subsided? What if health is repurposed as a national security issue? How do we ensure that COVID-19 doesn’t become the new 9/11 – a new milestone in authoritarian states of control?

This webinar will explore the political dimension of state responses, particularly the securitisation of COVID-19 through the expansion of powers for military, police, and security forces. It will examine the impact of such repression on certain groups who are unable to socially distance, as well as how digital surveillance is being rolled out with little, if any democratic oversight. It will ask how we can prevent these practices from being normalised and how to use our collective experiences of solidarity to construct a more just, democratic, and rights -centered world.

The webinar is conducted in English, but is live-interpreted into French and Spanish. Register to receive more details.


  • Fionnuala Ni Aolain, UN Special Rapporteur on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism, University of Minnesota
  • Arun Kundnani, New York University, author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic War on Terror and The End of Tolerance: racism in 21st century Britain
  • Anuradha Chenoy, School of International Studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University (retired), and author of Militarisation and Women in South Asia
  • María Paz Canales, Derechos Digitales (Digital Rights campaign), Chile

4pm CET, 29 April 2020


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The webinar is organised by TNI and co-sponsored by Focus on the Global South, Alternative Information and Development Centre  (South Africa), Statewatch (UK/EU), and the Institute for Policy Studies (USA)