The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, says that “the world is facing a pandemic of human rights abuses”. Covid-19 accentuated vulnerabilities and weaknesses, but also created new problems, says in an opinion article published Monday in the British newspaper The Guardian: “Ten countries administered more than 75% of all vaccines against covid-19. At the same time, more than 130 countries have not received a single dose. ”
António Guterres had already criticized the distribution of vaccines, saying that it was “extremely unequal and unfair”. It was at a meeting with the UN security council that the Portuguese secretary-general provided these data on the 130 countries that have not yet received a single dose of the covid-19 vaccine.
“The virus has proliferated because poverty, discrimination, the destruction of our natural environment and other human rights flaws have created enormous weaknesses in our societies. The lives of millions of families have been turned inside out – with jobs lost, overwhelming debt and huge income cuts. ” The most affected were professionals at the forefront of combating the pandemic, people with disabilities, the elderly, women and minorities, she said. The pandemic has also “hampered efforts to achieve world peace” and levels of extreme poverty are increasing for the first time in recent decades.
The virus is also “infecting civil and political rights,” says Guterres in the opinion article. There are authorities in some countries who are abusing power using the pandemic as an excuse to “criminalize basic freedoms, silence independent journalism and restrict the activity of non-governmental organizations”. Some have been arrested for criticizing the management of the pandemic in some countries and “deadly disinformation has been amplified – even by those in power”. In addition, there are extremists – “including white and neo-Nazi supremacists – who have been instrumentalizing the pandemic” to manipulate, warns António Guterres.
“If we allow the virus to proliferate like a forest fire in the South of the globe, it will continue to undergo mutations and mutations. New variants could become more transmissible, more deadly and even affect the effectiveness of current vaccines ”, warns the UN secretary general. All of this could go back to facing the measures that are in place now and “delaying the recovery of the world economy”.
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