Underlining the possibility of using the health crisis as an excuse to perpetrate violence, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on April 23 that the COVID-19 pandemic could give some countries an excuse to adopt repressive measures thus aiding the health crisis in becoming a human rights crisis.
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “We see the disproportionate effects on certain communities, the rise of hate speech, the targeting of vulnerable groups, and the risks of heavy-handed security responses undermining the health response.”
“Against the background of rising ethno-nationalism, populism, authoritarianism and a pushback against human rights in some countries, the crisis can provide a pretext to adopt repressive measures for purposes unrelated to the pandemic”, he said.
Calling it to be “unacceptable”, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also released a U.N. report highlighting how human rights should guide the response and recovery to the health, social and economic crisis gripping the world.
The report stated that the migrants, refugees and internally displaced people are particularly vulnerable and added that more than 131 countries have closed their borders, with only 30 allowing exemptions for asylum-seekers.
Antonio Guterres said that while the disease does not discriminate, its impact may do just that.