UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the global community on Thursday about the potential for the coronavirus pandemic to become a “human rights crisis.”
In a video message posted on his Twitter account, Guterres said that while the coronavirus does not discriminate, its impacts do.
The UN chief pointed to existing discrimination in the delivery of public services to tackle COVID-19 and the “structural inequalities that impede access to them.”
Guterres released a UN report that is meant to be a human-rights blueprint to respond to the health, social and economic crisis gripping the world, stressing that “human rights cannot be an afterthought in times of crisis.”
“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,” Guterres said.
The UN report also called on governments to act to mitigate the worst impacts of COVID-19 on jobs, livelihoods, access to basic services and family life.