Covid 19: Human Rights and State Responsibility

  •  Yeshwant Naik    


Human rights dimensions of the Covid-19 response escalate the obligations of governments. Since the time Covid was first identified in December 2020 in Wuhan, China, Human Rights Watch has reported several human rights abuses including the authoritarian responses in some countries.  Many governments are expanding public health measures by abandoning universal human rights. People are arrested for violating lockdown measures and curfews. Police and/or security forces are using violence, including lethal force, to enforce public health measures such as curfews and the wearing of masks. Lockdowns have imposed restrictions on individual movement by restraining them from leaving their place of residence. Some countries have imposed partial lockdowns. While restrictions on freedom of movement are necessary in the interest of protecting public health, states still are accountable to ensure that such restrictions are proportionate, evidence-based, and time-limited.  There were grievances and inequalities across countries, some of which were based on racist, gender-specific or other discrimination. There is also increased oppression of those who think differently. The pandemic exposes the failures in the context of political action and cooperation. The article makes recommendations on how governments can confront the pandemic while respecting basic human rights.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1918-7173
  • ISSN(Online): 1918-7181
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: quarterly

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