During the 44th session of the Human Rights Council, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights — Michelle Bachelet issued a statement where it was pointed that,
In Sri Lanka and India, members of the Muslim minority are being targeted by stigma and hate speech associating them with COVID-19.
Expressing her dismay by reports indicating that in many countries, members of minority communities and migrants face increasing stigmatisation – including, in some cases, by officials, she also added that,
In Bulgaria, Roma people have been stigmatised as a public health threat, with some local authorities setting up checkpoints around Roma settlements to enforce lockdowns. In Pakistan, hate speech against religious minorities remains virulent. Stigmatization and threats against people presumed to be infected by COVID-19 have also been reported in Haiti, Iraq and many other countries.
In a debate, Council rightly highlighted the importance of principled and non-discriminatory policing in upholding human rights.
Discrimination kills. Depriving people of their social and economic rights, kills. And these deaths and harms damage all of society. COVID-19 is like a heat-seeking device that exposes, and is fuelled by, systemic failures to uphold human rights.