16 April 2020
By: Christopher Gawronski

“Panic and discrimination never solved a crisis. Political leaders must take the lead, earning trust through transparent and timely information, working together for the common good, and empowering people to participate in protecting health.”
- Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees


The current COVID-19 pandemic presents a rare, hopefully unique, opportunity to consider the application of human rights in the context of a global health crisis. Impacts on some rights may seem obvious, like the rights to health, freedom of movement, and an adequate standard of living. But many other human rights are also affected by the actions taken by individuals, societies and States.

This article briefly examines how the actions being taken by States comport with their human rights obligations. The scope of this article is not to give an exhaustive review of all human rights or State actions to date related to the pandemic, but to provide a basic understanding of the human rights situation in the context of our current global health crisis. First, it will provide a general background on the source of human rights obligations for States and the nature of those rights. It will also explain the various mechanisms that currently exist to monitor the implementation of the human rights obligations of States. Second, the article will focus on the human rights implications of State actions taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic. It will identify some of the critical human rights issues impacted by State actions and the concerns expressed by international human rights mechanisms.

The High Commissioner Briefs UNHRC
on Covid-19 Crisis

In an informal briefing to the Human Rights Council, on 9 April 2020, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet talks about the current Covid-19 crisis. Bachelet acknowledges that currently humanity does not know much about treatment of the virus or its implications for societies across the globe, but she emphasises the need for an exit strategy, an exit strategy that is built upon more cooperation and is human rights based.

Bachelet reiterates the need for global solidarity, thus she recalls why the United Nations were funded, to address international crisis together.

HC Bachelet calls upon developing countries to especially support the people that depend on a daily income to survive. Pre-existing inequalities are being exposed during crisis and Covid-19 has tremendous effects upon people who were suffering prior. The rights of workers need to be protected and unemployment needs to be minimized. Resources are of the essence to combat Covid-19, but many countries lack the necessary resources to protect their population, thus Bachelet calls for “new financial mechanisms to fund global solidarity”.

Secondly the High Commissioner addresses the need to uphold current civil and political rights. It is important to respect the same values and rights in crisis as in non-crisis situation, and Covid-19 does not grant blank check to disregard previous obligations. Furthermore, it is the task of each government to keep their population informed about any news regarding Covid-19.

The High Commissioner finishes her statement by sharing actions point with members of the UN Human Rights Council.

Human Rights Obligations of States

To understand the current human rights situation, it is useful to review where human rights obligations come from, who is responsible for guaranteeing those rights, and what types of protections exist to safeguard them.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Modern human rights were first fully articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR),[1] a post-World War II document adopted by the United Nations (UN) and expressing, for the first time, a set of basic rights that are enjoyed equally by all people in all nations on the planet. The rights expressed in the UDHR cover a wide range of issues incorporating civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

These basic rights, described only briefly in the UDHR, were later elaborated and incorporated into a pair of treaties. These two treaties, described below, form the international legal basis of state obligations to protect and promote all human rights.[2] There are also several treaties addressed to the human rights of specific groups of people who are often particularly vulnerable to human rights abuses.[3] They take the universal human rights and apply them to the specific needs and conditions faced by these vulnerable groups.


Following the adoption of the UDHR, the UN Commission on Human Rights planned to develop a covenant (treaty) that would create binding human rights obligations on States and include implementation measures. This process proved to be difficult as the Cold War, which developed after World War II, created two camps of States with different ideas about how human rights should be prioritized and how they should be accomplished. Ultimately, instead of one covenant, the Commission developed two covenants that contained different sets of human rights.

The rights encompassed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)[4] reflected the priorities and worldview of Western nations and their history of focusing on the primacy of the individual and an individual’s liberties. By contrast, the rights contained in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)[5] generally reflected the worldview of Eastern (or, non-Western) nations, which gave greater emphasis to the needs of communities and providing for the collective needs of society as a whole. Together, the two treaties flesh out all the rights put forth in the UDHR.

Principle of Non-Discrimination

A key aspect of both treaties is the inclusion of clauses requiring the application of human rights on a non-discriminatory basis. Article 2 of each covenant, reflecting language in the UDHR, requires all rights be protected and promoted without regard to “race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”[6] In addition, Article 3 of each covenant contains common language committing States to ensure the “equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all … rights set forth” in the covenants. Between the two articles, each covenant establishes a broad principle of non-discrimination in the application of human rights and specifically highlights the need for gender equality in human rights. This principle has been echoed in all subsequent human rights treaties as well.

Implementation Mechanisms

Both covenants clarified that the obligation to protect and promote human rights rests primarily with States and their governments.[7] It was a relatively new concept in international law that a State would have an international legal obligation toward its own people.[8] Typically, treaties create obligations between States that are then enforceable by the States against each other. However, “the people” do not have the ability to enforce international law against their own State. So, in addition to traditional remedies that could be raised between States, the covenants created new accountability mechanisms to encourage States to fulfil their obligations.

The new mechanisms created by the covenants took the form of a committee established under each covenant to oversee the implementation of the treaty obligations by all the States Parties to the covenant. These committees are formed of individual experts, elected by the States Parties, who each serves in his or her individual capacity as an expert and not as a representative of any State. States Parties are required to submit periodic reports to the committees discussing their implementation of the treaty obligations and any difficulties they have faced in satisfying their obligations. The purpose of the committees is to create transparency and accountability in the implementation of the human rights obligations and to provide a non-punitive forum for States to receive advice and encouragement on how to better satisfy their obligations. This approach has been repeated in subsequent human rights treaties, thus creating a group of committees from the various treaties collectively called “treaty bodies.”

In the conduct of their work, the Treaty Bodies are called upon to elaborate on the obligations within their treaties. They do this through the individual country reviews they conduct as well as a variety of other procedures that require the committees to interpret the treaty provisions and provide more specific guidance to States on how their obligations apply to a wide variety of situations. This guidance, over time, has helped to fill in the gaps left by the treaty language and allowed for the flexible application of human rights to changing circumstances.

Vulnerable Populations with Special Consideration

As previously mentioned, there are human rights treaties that address the issues faced by particular groups who tend to be more vulnerable to human rights abuses. The five vulnerable groups that are covered by specific treaties are: racial minorities, women, children, people with disabilities, and migrant workers and their families. Each of these treaties elaborates on the basic human rights from the ICCPR and ICESCR and establishes specific obligations that address the particular needs of these vulnerable groups. As with the covenants, each treaty confirms the non-discriminatory application of human rights and establishes a committee as an implementation mechanism.

Human Rights Council and Special Procedures

The UN Commission on Human Rights, which drafted the UDHR and served as the main UN body overseeing human rights issues, was reorganized in 2006 into the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). Since 2006, the HRC has created a series of positions (often referred to as “mandates”) filled by individual experts or groups of experts who focus on a particular aspect of human rights. Most of these mandates are dedicated to addressing a particular human right at the global level or the impact of a particular issue on human rights generally, while a few address the human rights situation in particular countries.[9] Together, these mandates are referred to as the “special procedures” of the HRC. Through the Special Procedures, the HRC continues to act as the main coordinating body of the UN for human rights issues. The Special Procedures conduct independent investigations and analyses related to their mandates and often work in collaboration with the Treaty Bodies to share information and coordinate their responses to urgent human rights situations.

Human Rights Situation with COVID-19

The situation facing the world with the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in modern times. The possibility of losing millions of lives to this virus demands that individuals, societies and governments around the globe take strong and quick action. In fact, the right to health (ICESCR, art. 12) requires States to take steps for the “prevention, treatment and control of epidemic … and other diseases.” However, governments must be cautious about going too far in their efforts to slow the outbreak and treat those afflicted with the disease.

Mr. Dainius Pūras: Special Rapporteur
on the right to health

As the virus has spread, UN human rights experts have issued statements reminding States of the need to act with human rights at the forefront. In one statement, the chairpersons of the Treaty Bodies urged countries to “ensure that human rights are respected in government measures to tackle the public health threat” and warned against scapegoating individuals or groups out of fear.[10] In another statement, experts reminded States that “any emergency responses to the coronavirus must be proportionate, necessary and non-discriminatory.”[11] These warnings serve to remind all States that human rights should not be sacrificed even during times of global crisis. On the contrary, a human rights-based approach to the pandemic can actually help States fight its spread more effectively.

State Actions Impacting Human Rights

A variety of actions taken by States in response to the pandemic have resulted in direct restrictions on human rights. What follows is a consideration of the most severe actions and the human rights impacts and concerns regarding those actions.

Business and Activity Limitations

Many of the actions taken by governments have been for the purpose of accomplishing physical separation of people, which has been dubbed “social distancing.” A number of actions fall under this category and are all intended to reduce the transmission of the virus from person-to-person contact. While localized quarantines and self-isolation are often necessary to prevent the spread of disease, the widespread nature of recent actions demand a special consideration of the human rights impacts.

The set of actions that have had perhaps the greatest impact on people’s lives is the closure of businesses, cancelation of events and limitation of access to public spaces and facilities to slow the spread of the virus. These actions implicate a host of human rights and may have particularly dire effects on certain vulnerable populations. In particular, the right to work (ICESCR, art. 6) is severely restricted wherever governments have shut down businesses. This, in turn, results in restrictions on the right to an adequate standard of living (ICESCR, art. 11) when unemployment and underemployment threaten people’s financial security and their ability to afford adequate food and housing.

One Special Procedure stressed the need to “put finance at the service of human rights and to support the less well-off through bold financial approaches.”[12] His remarks discussed the need to guarantee an adequate standard of living for displaced workers during the crisis and for everyone who is not financially able to withstand an anticipated, severe global recession. He expressed grave concern about the International Monetary Fund (IMF) using a political dispute about the legitimacy of Venezuela’s government as a reason to refuse a Venezuelan request for funds to fight COVID-19.[13] By doing so, he stated that the IMF is putting the whole Venezuelan population in danger, a decision that “may amount to gross violation of human rights.” Fighting a global pandemic requires addressing the needs of people and putting aside political posturing.

The impact of COVID-19 is often greater for people with disabilities. As noted by one Special Procedure, “Containment measures, such as social distancing and self-isolation, may be impossible for those who rely on the support of others to eat, dress and bathe.”[14] She stressed the need for reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities who may depend on businesses and services that have been suspended.

Another measure to encourage social distancing is limiting the number of people who can physically gather together. When applied to an entire community or society, this is a serious restriction on the freedom of peaceful assembly (ICCPR, art. 21). While potentially effective for slowing the spread of disease, it can also be used to stifle dissent. In fact, experts have urged States to keep security measures in check and stressed that emergency declarations should not “function as a cover for repressive action under the guise of protecting health.”[15]

The right to education (ICESCR, art. 13) and the right to take part in cultural life (ICESCR, art. 15) have been restricted by the closure of schools, and cultural and entertainment facilities. States must take special care to support and encourage alternative approaches for students, especially children, to continue their education when schooling has been disrupted. In addition, States must encourage cultural life by allowing and helping communities to be connected in new ways.

Movement Limitations

The right to freedom of movement (ICCPR, art. 12) has been severely restricted in many places due to policies ranging from curfews to all-out lockdowns that prohibit people from leaving their homes or gathering in groups except under certain conditions. This right includes both the ability to move freely about one’s country of residence and the ability to leave any country and return to one’s own country.

Where governments have ordered citizens to stay home, the right to adequate housing (ICESCR, art. 11) becomes especially critical. As one Special Procedure noted, “Housing has become the front line defence against the coronavirus.”[16] She noted that nearly two billion people globally are either homeless or have inadequate housing, often accompanied by lack of safe water or sanitation. Such situations create areas where the virus can spread rapidly. She stressed that measures that require people to stay home must be enforced in a way that does not punish people who have no home. In addition, for people who have lost their jobs, measures must be taken to ensure they do not lose their homes due to financial distress.

A sport facility in Switzerland turned into a health centre in order to host more people effected with Covid19

Good hygiene, including access to clean water, is a critical aspect of curbing the spread of any communicable disease. The strong messaging around COVID-19 to wash hands regularly demands that everyone have access to safe and clean water.[17] Several Special Procedures have noted that many people around the world, usually the most vulnerable, lack access to clean water. They stressed that “Governments must pay special attention to marginalised groups” when considering water and sanitation policies in order to effectively fight COVID-19.[18] Clearly, if many millions of people lack clean water supplies, hygiene and sanitation will suffer, and it will be more difficult for governments to control the spread of the virus.

A group of Special Procedures has highlighted the need to protect individuals, especially women and children, from domestic violence when people are ordered to stay at home. “For too many women and children, home can be a place of fear and abuse.”[19] Restrictions in public services may also mean fewer shelters and possibly less intervention by police or courts to protect domestic violence victims. The group urged governments to continue combatting domestic violence and maintaining the safe places and legal procedures required by victims seeking safety.

Elderly people face particular difficulty and isolation during a lockdown. Especially for the many elderly living alone, the lack of visitors becomes social exclusion. Considering the higher risk of illness faced by the elderly, especially those with underlying health conditions, governments must take particular care to ensure the elderly are not ignored. One Special Procedure expressed her deep concern “that decisions around the allocation of scarce medical resources such as ventilators in intensive care units may be made solely on the basis of age.”[20] The many elderly people and people with disabilities who live in institutional or group settings are also particularly vulnerable to disease transmission, so governments should take special care to ensure health protocols are being followed in these settings.

People who live in institutions also include millions of people who have been deprived of their liberty, such as those in prisons, immigration detention facilities, closed refugee camps, and psychiatric hospitals. In addition to the increased risk of infection in such environments, a restriction on visitors due to the pandemic means these detainees and residents are shut off from the world and the risk of mistreatment rises. Mistreatment can range from neglect of a psychiatric resident to the torture of a detainee. According to one Treaty Body, detainees must have “access to appropriate levels of health care and … contact with families and the outside world.”[21] The group called on national monitoring bodies to “continue exercising their preventive mandate during the pandemic, including visits to places of detention when possible.”

In some cases, movement restrictions have resulted in the closing of borders. However, States continue to have an obligation to offer assistance to refugees and asylum to those legitimately fleeing their countries in fear for their lives. Closing borders to daily traffic cannot mean leaving individuals to face exploitation or death in their home countries. States must identify ways to satisfy these legal obligations and offer humanitarian assistance while protecting the larger population from the virus.

Technology and Information Control

David Kaye UN Special Rapporteur on
freedom of opinion and expression

Where governments restrict communication, whether in person, in print, or through any electronic medium, they are restricting the right to freedom of expression, including the right to seek, receive and impart information (ICCPR, art. 19). Numerous human rights mechanisms have expressed concerns about such restrictions, like the restrictions China places on internet communications. One Special Procedure and representatives of two other international organizations have stressed the need to maintain a free flow of information in order for people to protect themselves and fight the pandemic. They asserted that staying healthy depends not only on access to health care but also “on access to accurate information about the nature of the threats and the means to protect oneself.”[22]  In particular, they stressed the need for governments to refrain from blocking internet access and to provide journalists with information critical to the public. It is also important to ensure that information about prevention and care is made available in different formats so it is accessible for people with disabilities.

These experts have also expressed concern about the use of surveillance technology in ways that invade the privacy of individuals and families and stressed the importance of limiting their use. In some cases, governments like China have been using technology to track people’s movements and health conditions, often without the knowledge or consent of those being tracked. This is a restriction of the right to freedom from arbitrary interference with privacy, family or home (ICCPR, art. 17).

Misinformation and Propaganda

Aside from impacting particular rights, some State actions violate the principle of non-discrimination in the protection of human rights. One Special Procedure has pointed out actions during the pandemic that contribute to racial discrimination and xenophobia. In particular, she called out State officials, including the US President,[23] for “adopting alternative names for the COVID-19” virus.[24] She condemned the “calculated use of a geographic-based name” for the virus that stigmatizes individuals associated with China or East Asia generally. There have been numerous reports of virus-related racist attacks since the outbreak began.[25] She noted that racist attitudes and behaviors are actually counterproductive to fighting the pandemic because people must be able to access information and healthcare “without fear of discrimination.” In other words, spreading misinformation and fear actually impedes efforts to fight the virus.

Limitations and Exceptions to Human Rights Obligations

Although the faithful fulfillment of State human rights obligations should be expected at all times, States are allowed to limit their human rights obligations in certain ways and under limited circumstances according to the two covenants. The ICCPR allows for two types of limitations on various rights covered by the covenant. First, for several rights, the covenant recognizes that some restrictions are acceptable if they are imposed by law (not arbitrarily) and are necessary to address broader issues such as public safety, public health or morals, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. Of the rights discussed above, those in ICCPR Articles 12, 19 and 21 all include this provision. Such restrictions are a way of balancing individual rights with the needs of society as a whole in everyday life.

Second, the ICCPR recognizes that restrictions (or additional restrictions) on many rights may be appropriate or unavoidable in times of “public emergency which threatens the life of the nation.” Article 4 of the covenant allows a State to take measures “derogating” from many of its obligations but only if the emergency is officially proclaimed, only to the “extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, … and [if the measures] do not involve discrimination solely on the ground of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin.” However, the article limits the ability to derogate by listing seven specific rights from which derogation is not allowed.[26] When derogating from rights in times of public emergency, the covenant includes a process to help ensure transparency and accountability. A State Party is required to notify the UN Secretary-General of the “provisions from which it has derogated and of the reasons by which [the derogation] was actuated.” Another notification is required when the derogation ends. The Secretary-General publishes these notifications to the other States Parties.

A photo showing travellers wearing protective masks walk through
Hong Kong Station on Jan. 29.Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg

It is clear from global news reports that many countries have declared states of emergency and taken extraordinary actions to slow the spread of COVID-19. However, so far only ten States have notified the UN that they have derogated from their ICCPR obligations due to the pandemic.[27] None of the countries hit hardest, such as China, Italy, Spain, and the United States, have provided notification, and yet they have clearly taken actions that derogate from their obligations under the ICCPR. By not providing notification, States are violating a human rights obligation even if the specific actions taken are deemed reasonable.

Unlike the ICCPR, the ICESCR does not have a derogation provision. However, the nature of the rights in this covenant are different; they tend to be more community-focused and require positive action and allocation of resources by States. This is reflected in a more flexible obligation of the States Parties, which recognizes the need to “progressively [achieve] full realization of the rights.”[28] As a result, there is a recognition that States will take time to fully achieve the rights and that different States will be in different stages of achieving the rights at any particular time. Nevertheless, the covenant only allows for limitations on rights that are “determined by law [and] only in so far as [the limitations] may be compatible with the nature of these rights and solely for the purpose of promoting the general welfare in a democratic society.”[29] Therefore, even in a state of emergency, any restriction on these rights must promote the general welfare and, of course, be non-discriminatory.


As the pandemic continues to spread, the situation in every country is changing from one day to the next. States must respond to protect their citizens, and citizens should work together and with their political leaders to ensure the health and safety of everyone. However, during such times of uncertainty and upheaval, there are individuals and governments who would take advantage of the situation. The unscrupulous will attempt to benefit themselves, and many people will be left behind. We must all be vigilant against human rights violations and hold all States accountable to their obligations. Leaving anyone behind is unacceptable.

Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) calls on all States to remember their human rights obligations and work diligently to uphold them. Where derogation from certain obligations is deemed necessary, we remind States of the requirement to notify the UN of actions taken in this regard. We condemn those governments who use the crisis as a cover to crack down on dissent, invade the privacy of their citizens, or stoke racist and ethnic fears and xenophobic attitudes. GICJ urges all human rights organizations and defenders to maintain their critical work and asks all global citizens to report on their experiences during this trying time. By working together and respecting the human rights of each and every person, we will emerge from this crisis with dignity and an even greater appreciation of the interconnectedness of our global society.

[1] See The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Pages/UDHRIndex.aspx.
[2] There are also two treaties that elaborate more specific obligations with regard to particular human rights (freedom from torture and inhuman treatment, and freedom from enforced disappearance), but these rights are also covered broadly within the ICCPR.
[3] These groups are racial minorities, women, children, migrant workers, and persons with disabilities.
[4] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, opened for signature 16 Dec. 1966, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CCPR.aspx.
[5] International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, opened for signature 16 Dec. 1966, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CESCR.aspx.
[6] This language appears in Article 2 of the UDHR.
[7] This is reflected in the wording of Article 2 of both covenants. The ICCPR requires each “State Party … to respect and to ensure … the rights recognized” in that covenant, while the ICESCR requires each “State Party to … take steps, … to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized” (emphasis added).
[8] This concept had been introduced in a more limited way following World War I where treaties required several States to protect certain ethnic minorities within their own borders.
[9] As of the end of 2019, there were 12 country-specific mandates and 44 thematic mandates. For more information, see Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/Introduction.aspx.
[10] Press Release, UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies call for human rights approach in fighting COVID-19, United Nations (24 Mar. 2020), https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25742&LangID=E.
[11] Press Release, COVID-19: States should not abuse emergency measures to suppress human rights – UN experts, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations (16 March 2020), https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25722&LangID=E.
[12] Press Release, “An Immediate Human Rights Response To Counter the COVID-19 and the Global Recession Ahead Is an Urgent Priority,” Says UN Expert, United Nations (20 Mar. 2020), https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25732&LangID=E.
[13] Vakkas Dogantekin, IMF Rules Out COVID-19 Loan to Venezuela, Anadolu Agency (18 Mar. 2020), https://www.aa.com.tr/en/economy/imf-rules-out-covid-19-loan-to-venezuela/1770442.
[14] Press Release, COVID-19: Who is Protecting the People with Disabilities? – UN Rights Expert, United Nations (17 Mar. 2020), https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25725&LangID=E.
[15] Press Release, supra note 11.
[16] Press Release, “Housing, the front line defence against the COVID-19 outbreak,” says UN expert, United Nations (18 Mar. 2020), https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25727&LangID=E.
[17] Although a right to water is not specifically mentioned in the covenant, the ICESCR committee has inferred its existence because it is indispensable for daily life and necessary for the achievement of many other human rights. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment No. 15 (2002): The Right to Water, U.N. Doc. E/C.12/2002/11.
[18] Press Release, COVID-19 Will Not Be Stopped Without Providing Safe Water to People Living in Vulnerability – UN Experts, United Nations (23 Mar. 2020), https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25738&LangID=E.
[19] Press Release, States Must Combat Domestic Violence in the Context of COVID-19 Lockdowns – UN Rights Expert, United Nations (27 Mar. 2020), https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25749&LangID=E.
[20] Press Release, “Unacceptable” – UN Expert Urges Better Protection of Older Persons Facing the Highest Risk of the COVID-19 Pandemic, United Nations (27 Mar. 2020), https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25748&LangID=E.
[21] Press Release, COVID-19: Measures Needed To Protect People Deprived of Liberty, UN Torture Prevention Body Says, United Nations (30 Mar. 2020), https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25756&LangID=E.
[22] Press Release, COVID-19: Governments Must Promote and Protect Access to and Free Flow of Information During Pandemic – International Experts, United Nations (19 Mar. 2020), https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25729&LangID=E.
[23] US President Donald Trump regularly referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus.” Dan Mangan, Trump Defends Calling Coronavirus “Chinese virus” – “It’s not racist at all”, CNBC (18 Mar. 2020), https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/18/coronavirus-criticism-trump-defends-saying-chinese-virus.html. More recently, the US sought to use the term “Wuhan virus” in a G7 statement. Alex Marquardt & Jennifer Hansler, US Push to Include “Wuhan Virus” Language in G7 Joint Statement Fractures Alliance, CNN (26 Mar. 2020), https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/25/politics/g7-coronavirus-statement/index.html.
[24] Press Release, States Should Take Action Against COVID-19-related Expressions of Xenophobia, Says UN Expert, United Nations (23 Mar. 2020), https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25739&LangID=E.
[25] List of Incidents of Xenophobia and Racism Related to the 2019–20 Coronavirus Pandemic, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_incidents_of_xenophobia_and_racism_related_to_the_2019%E2%80%9320_coronavirus_pandemic (last updated 31 March 2020, 00:54 UTC).
[26] Derogation is not allowed from the following rights: right to life, no torture, no slavery, no imprisonment due to debt, no criminal conviction for acts not a crime by law, recognition as a person before the law, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
[27] As of 13 April 2020, notifications of derogation per Article 4 of the ICCPR from only the following ten countries had been reported by the UN Secretary-General: Armenia, Chile, Ecuador, Estonia, Georgia, Guatemala, Latvia, Palestine, Peru, and Romania. Depositary Notifications (CNs) by the Secretary-General, United Nations, https://treaties.un.org/Pages/CNs.aspx?cnTab=tab1&clang=_en (last visited 13 April 2020).
[28] ICESCR, art. 2(1) (emphasis added).
[29] ICESCR, art. 4.

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