Guterres calls for protecting human rights in fight against COVID-19 pandemic
United Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said Thursday in a video message that it is necessary to protect human rights in the fight against coronavirus pandemic. He warned that with “rising ethnonationalism, populism, authoritarianism and a push back against human rights in some countries, the crisis can provide a pretext to adopt repressive measures for purposes unrelated to the pandemic”, UN News reported.
Guterres said, “The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency. But it is far more: it is an economic crisis, a social crisis, and a humanitarian crisis that is fast becoming a human rights crisis.” Guterres said governments must be “transparent, responsive and accountable,” and stressed that press freedom, civil society organizations, the private sector, and “civic space” are essential.
The UN chief called for measures to ensure that any emergency measures – including states of emergency – are legal, proportionate, necessary and non-discriminatory, have a specific focus and duration, and take the least intrusive approach possible to protect public health. He said, “The best response is one that responds proportionately to immediate threats while protecting human rights and the rule of law.”