Social Issues

Covid measures magnified discrimination against the marginalized: Amnesty

London, May 31 (EFE).- Covid-induced restrictions have further exacerbated discrimination and human rights abuses against most marginalized groups around the world, anAmnesty International report said on Tuesday.

These include people experiencing homelessness, LGTBI+, sex workers, and drug users.

Based on an online survey of 54 civil society organizations in 28 countries, the report documents how an “overly punitive approach” has been the “common failing” in the enforcement of public health measures.

The approach, which resulted in fines, arrests, and imprisonment for non-compliance with the measures, led to “already marginalized groups facing increased harassment and violence from security forces,” the report said.

“Groups who were already over-policed before the pandemic have experienced discrimination, unlawful use of force, and arbitrary detentions by security forces,” the human rights organization said.

The organizations that participated in the survey also pointed out that people they work with, including women who needed abortions, from the communities were punished for violating Covid-19 regulations.

“Though Covid-19 measures may have varied from country to country, governments’ approaches to tackling the pandemic have had a common failing,” Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Policy Rajat Khosla said.

Khosla said an overemphasis on using punitive sanctions against people for non-compliance with regulations, rather than supporting them to better comply, had a “grossly disproportionate effect on those who already faced systematic discrimination.”

“When governments use punitive approaches to enforce public health measures, it simply makes it harder to comply. People who lost their livelihoods overnight and people experiencing homelessness were criminalized for not adhering to Covid-19 measures, rather than being supported to access housing or other essentials.”

Khosla said this “short-sightedness” left these groups “at the mercy of violent and discriminatory policing.”

Among other punitive measures, the organizations mentioned the widespread use of fines, arrests, cautions, written warnings, and police orders to stay away from a public place. EFE wsm/pd/ssk

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