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COVID-19 and Human Rights

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COVID-19 and Human Rights

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency — but it is far more. It is an economic crisis. A social crisis. And a human crisis that is fast becoming a human rights crisis.”

— António Guterres, UN Secretary-General

The Covid-19 crisis has provided some political leaders with a perfect pretext to advance narrow interests, brushing aside long-held principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the name of emergency. Perhaps this is the reason why curtailing certain rights has formed a core facet of many countries’ response to the pandemic. They have issued stay-at-home-orders and imposed curfews which impact individual liberty. People are being quarantined which is by default a discriminatory step which impacts people based on specific but sometimes arbitrarily enforced criteria, e.g. where they had travelled from, who they have been in contact with, and so on. However, such unprecedented acts establish the norms that will be very hard to undo long after the coronavirus is eradicated.

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