COVID-19 and Human Rights

As the COVID-19 pandemic tears across the world we are all worried about the future. In countries where the virus has hit many have already lost loved ones. Elsewhere people are bracing themselves for the spread of the virus, wondering how stretched healthcare systems can possibly cope. Even for those who haven’t yet been directly affected, COVID-19 is disrupting lives in unimaginable ways.

Whether you are working from home, out of work, self-isolating or caring for others, these are lonely and uncertain times. Life may feel like it’s on hold right now – but the fight for human rights never stops.

Even in times of uncertainty, Amnesty will continue to call out human rights violators wherever we see them.

Government may try to use panic around coronavirus to hide their human rights violations. They should know that we are watching them.

At the same time, it’s important not to give into fear or to lose hope. There have already been some amazing examples of solidarity in the context of this crisis – between neighbours, nations, friends and strangers. Amid all this fear there is much to be hopeful about. If this crisis was unthinkable a few months ago, so too was the notion of so many people doing favours for strangers, or of streets filling with the sound of neighbours singing together. Empathy and care for others are becoming the new normal, and that’s something we should be celebrating.

Fear divides us. Hope mobilizes us.

There are lots of ways you can help, and we’ll be posting tips and ideas for things you can do to show solidarity with others – even if you can’t leave your bedroom. One thing that’s really important at this time is making sure we don’t fall into the trap of demonizing or discriminating against people because of their health status or identity. We have loads of great resources for learning about the human rights applicable to this crisis – the right to health, the right to work, the prohibition against discrimination, and the responsibilities of governments to respect human rights even under states of emergency. What the spread of this virus should teach us is that globally we are all connected, and we can all help one another – so let’s start now.

Looking for things you can do to speak out for human rights while at home? You can take action online or make a donation.