Autocratic regimes globally have been adopting defensive strategies amid widespread discontent and have used the pandemic to quell dissent, Kenneth Roth executive director of Human Rights Watch told Efe on occasion of the watchdog’s yearly report.

QUESTION: Is there any reason to believe that democracy could topple existing dictatorships?

ANSWER: The conventional wisdom these days is that autocracy is ascendent and democracy is on the decline. But when we look back on the last year we recognize that that really is too simplistic, that indeed autocrats are very much on the defensive.

Q: Has the pandemic been used to curb democracy?

A: We cited a number of autocratic leaders that have used the pandemic as an excuse to silence dissent. And we have seen this both in confirmed autocratic states like Egypt where critics of the government response are just silenced, but we’ve also seen it in democracies with leaders with autocratic tendencies say like India where Prime Minister Modi has also attacked the doctors who were critical of his response to the pandemic. EFE