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Intersection of Human Rights with COVID-19 - An Analysis

Author: Riddhi Popade, Student, Progressive Education Society's Modern Law College, Savitribai Phule Pune University, India

Abstract

“Humanity is in crisis – and there is no exit from that crisis other than the solidarity of humans.” Never before has the world witnessed a crisis of such unprecedented magnitude. What started off as a scare has now gained momentum of a global pandemic. The world exists in an interconnected network of elements and the COVID-19 pandemic has, in a way, reiterated this fact and brought it home. The pandemic, at the beginning, was a public health emergency, but now, at this point of time, it has manifested into an unparalleled form of crisis. It is a socio-economic crisis. A human crisis, that is fast becoming a human rights crisis. At a time like this, the priority is to save lives. The COVID-19 pandemic is not selective in nature; it can affect anyone, in any part of the world. To think of human rights as an afterthought in times like these would be nothing short of ignorant. The COVID-19 pandemic is a test to us all and to our societies and systems. It is precisely in times of crisis that core human rights values can help us steer the best course. The pandemic has given rise to fear and instability in people’s minds, thereby aggravating the existing human rights concerns, such as discrimination against certain communities, racism, xenophobia, mistreatment of migrants, forced returns of refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally-displaced persons, rise in domestic violence, and limited access to healthcare, among many other things. This largely helps put things into sharp perspective, that in times of crisis, vulnerable groups suffer most. This paper aims at establishing why human rights are critical in devising a response to the pandemic and how ensuring healthcare for everyone and preserving human dignity is of paramount importance.


Keywords: Covid-19, Pandemic, Quarantine, Human rights, Crisis, Healthcare.

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