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Police brutality : what can be done?

Increased police brutality has been a defining feature of the Covid-19 pandemic throughout the world, from Colombia to the Philippines, from Mexico and Belarus to Russia to Algeria or Myanmar. To enforce curfews or disperse protests, police and sometimes the army have used violent methods and dangerous weapons. This has at times reached the threshold of torture, as this briefing shows.

A closer look shows that the global health emergency has actually only worsened a trend that has been us for years, as Professor Nils Melzer, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, explains in this podcast. An authoritarian approach to policing, the lack of proper training, the marginalisation of entire social groups – including blatant racism, as seen in the 2020 killing of George Floyd – are just some of the factors behind an alarming phenomenon that has not spared confirmed democracies.

Are torture and ill-treatment on our streets a hallmark of the future, or can they be prevented? How can civil society help? Listen to these top experts explain what needs to be done to reverse a trend that threatens each one of us.

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