U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated Thursday the coronavirus could give some nations an excuse to undertake repressive measures for reasons unrelated to the pandemic as he cautioned that the pandemic risks becoming a human rights crisis.
Guterres released a U.N. report highlighting how human rights should inform the response and recovery to the well being, social and economic disaster gripping the world. He added that while the virus doesn’t discriminate, its impacts do.
The novel coronavirus, which causes the respiratory illness COVID-19, has thus far infected some 2.57 million around the world, and 178,574 people have died, in line with a tally. The virus first emerged in the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan late in December 2019
The U.N. report said migrants, refugees, and internally displaced people are notably vulnerable. It said over 131 nations had closed their borders, with only 30 allowing exemptions for asylum-seekers.
With companies shut down and hundreds of thousands of people told to stay house to avoid spreading the virus, the International Monetary Fund has predicted the world will suffer its steepest downturn since the Great Depression of the Thirties.
The U.N. report stated the pandemic was creating further hardship that “if not mitigated, will raise rigidity and could provoke civil unrest,” adding that this could then spark a heavy-handed safety response.