Respect Rights in COVID-19 Response

(New York) – Governments should respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by prioritizing the right to health for all and respect for human rights, Human Rights Watch said today in a new report.

The report, “Human Rights Dimensions of the COVID-19 Response,” analyzes government obligations and the human rights concerns posed by the coronavirus outbreak along with examples of responses so far. Human Rights Watch proposes recommendations for governments to address the outbreak while respecting fundamental human rights, including the rights to health, free expression, nondiscrimination, and freedom of movement.


As governments respond to the threat posed by COVID-19...

there is a reason to affirm, not abandon, human rights.

Governments need to scale-up their public health response and respect all rights by maintaining the following measures.

Protect freedom of expression and ensure access to critical information

Ensure quarantines, lockdowns, and travel bans compy with rights norms

Protect people in custody and in institutions

Ensure protection of health workers

Ensure marginalized populations can access health care without discrimination

Promote the rights to water and sanitation

Target economic relief to assist low-wage workers

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