Covid 19 and its Impact on Human Rights


The world is facing an unprecedented crisis in the form of Covid 19. At its centre is a global public health emergency on a scale not seen for a century, requiring an extraordinary response both in India and globally.

Measures adopted to slowdown this pandemic such as extensive lockdowns, restrictions on freedom of movement, have greatly impinged upon the freedom to enjoy many other human rights such as right to work, leisure, education amongst numerous others.
While the rights of most sections of the society have been limited to some extent, those of the most vulnerable sections (women, children, migrant workers, refugees, the poor, the disabled) have been severely curtailed and impacted.

COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the deep economic and social inequalities and inadequate health and social protection systems that require urgent attention.

Governments world over have the obligation to ensure that everyone is protected and included in the response to this crisis.

Freedom of movement is a crucial right that facilitates the enjoyment of many other rights such as jobs, livelihoods, access to services, including health care, food, water, education and social services and the curtailment of this right under lockdowns has spelled doom for daily wage labourers, migrant workers, domestic helps and many others employed in the informal sector. The informal sector employees are suffering from great uncertainty about their livelihoods and their future source of income.

Even though the Government has taken several measures including direct transfers and direct provision of food to protect this section, gaps persist.

Restrictions on malls, shops and curfews in states coupled with economic slump have led to unprecedented rise in unemployment and food insecurity in many countries within a very short space of time.

World over the inadequacy of the health system in dealing with the scale of the crisis has hit the most vulnerable the hardest. Lack of universal, affordable health-care systems are limiting the access of the poor to crucial healthcare services and depriving them of the right to healthcare regardless of social or economic standing.
Also, strategies to contain the virus such as handwashing are difficult for those living in slums or areas lacking access to clean water and sanitation. Absence of good quality safe housing has made it impossible to follow physical distancing, self-isolation for the homeless or residents of slums.

Similarly, widespread closure of schools has interrupted the education of more than 1 billion children, depriving them of their right to education and as well as proper nutrition for children dependent on mid-day meals at schools.

The widespread and debilitating curtailment of human rights particularly for certain vulnerable sections of the society calls for extraordinary measures to ensure that the interest of these sections and their basic human rights are protected. Governments need to use maximum available resources to ensure availability, accessibility, and quality of health care to all without discrimination.
Provision of stimulus packages to mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic and adequate support to groups most

/ Navaratan Blog