Coronavirus pandemic is fast becoming a 'human rights crisis': UN chief

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Apr 23, 2020, 11:28 AM(IST)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (file photo). Photograph:( Others )

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The secretary-general said he would release a report on Thursday on how human rights must guide the response to the virus and recovery from the pandemic. Neither he nor the report names any countries or parties responsible for human rights violations.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the coronavirus pandemic is a "human crisis that is fast becoming a human rights crisis".

The UN chief said in a video message that there was discrimination in the delivery of public services to tackle COVID-19 and there are structural inequalities that impede access to them, adding the pandemic has also seen "disproportionate effects on certain communities, the rise of hate speech, the targetting of vulnerable groups, and the risks of heavy-handed security responses undermining the health response."

The secretary-general said he would release a report on Thursday on how human rights must guide the response to the virus and recovery from the pandemic. Neither he nor the report names any countries or parties responsible for human rights violations.

"With rising ethno-nationalism, populism, authoritarianism and a push back against human rights in some countries, the crisis can provide a pretext to adopt repressive measures for purposes unrelated to the pandemic," he said.

In February, Guterres issued a call to action to countries, businesses and people to help renew and revive human rights across the globe, laying out a seven-point plan amid concerns about climate change, conflict and repression. He had then said governments also need to take action to mitigate the worst impacts of COVID-19 on jobs, livelihoods, access to basic services and family life.

"Heavy-handed security responses undermine the health response and can exacerbate existing threats to peace and security or create new ones. The best response is proportionate to the immediate threat and protects human rights," he added.

The message is clear, he said. "People and their rights must be front and centre."


 

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