• Press Release

Basic Human Rights Should Be at the Center of COVID-19 Response, UN Report Shows

April 23, 2020

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - APRIL 23: A healthcare worker registers people before getting tested for the coronavirus in Prague on April 23, 2020. People have been forming long lines to get tested in a study to determine undetected infections with the coronavirus in the population. Some 27,000 people aged 18 - 89 across the country will be tested in the next two weeks, starting on Thursday. (Photo by Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images)
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has published a report on the need for a human rights centered response to COVID-19, warning that the pandemic risks becoming a human rights crisis. Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of Global Issues, said:

“António Guterres’ report is a timely reminder that human rights need to be at the center of the response and recovery. Homelessness, lack of access to healthcare, suppression of information and unemployment are all human rights issues. Poor prison conditions and overcrowded refugee camps are suddenly front-page news, but to many people, this suffering has been a daily reality for as long as they can remember. This pandemic has wrenched away the distractions that have allowed us to pretend that violations against people who live far away or look different are not our concern.

“If one person is sick with COVID-19 we are all at risk, and the same is true for human rights. A world that protects the rights of a lucky few is unhealthy and unsustainable. We welcome the Secretary General’s call for governments to put human rights at the center of the response to this pandemic. As we move through and out of this crisis we must commit to building a better world where human rights provide the framework for ending inequality and injustice.”

Amnesty International is monitoring human rights violations that take place in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the right to health, access to information, right to housing, water and sanitation, discrimination, and rights to and at work.

Read more about COVID-19 and international human rights.

Support Amnesty International USA’s work here.

Media contact: Mariya Parodi, [email protected]