Minority Rights Group International (MRG) Deputy Director, Claire Thomas, writes this opinion piece for the Thomson Reuters News Foundation.+ LEARN MORE
Report COVID-19 discrimination
Report COVID-19 Discrimination
Minority Rights Group International (“MRG”) is documenting the challenges faced by minorities and indigenous people related to the COVID-19 health crisis, including confinement, social isolation, emotional/mental issues, verbal and physical abuse, loss of income and financial difficulties, access to health information, preventative and emergency healthcare, and many other language and cultural barriers.
We want to hear from you and your communities – what specific challenges are you facing today related to Covid-19?
MRG is listening to the voices of minorities and indigenous people. We are documenting the concerns and providing recommendations and action steps to mobilize states and UN stakeholders.
Please reach out if you (or your communities) are experiencing:
- Discrimination or stigma –from local authorities, law-enforcement officers or healthcare providers which affect access to healthcare, food, or community relief.
- Lack of reliable information – related to COVID-19 such as symptoms, preventive care, confinement guidelines by authorities, language barriers, access to internet or other communication channels.
- Lack of basic products or services – to include (but not limited to) access to water, soap, sanitary products, food, and essential service providers such as internet or electricity.
- Lack of healthcare – due to required identification documents, cost of healthcare, poor infrastructure, or the location and accessibility of healthcare providers.
- Emotional, mental or physical challenges – related to living/working conditions and the spread of the virus, confinement, domestic violence, social isolation, lack of communication or separation of friends/family, feelings of fear, anxiety, depression, or the need for counseling and other support services.
- Economic challenges – due to loss of income, economic support schemes and other economic measures for which your community is disadvantaged.
- Any other impact – resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic or related challenges that have negatively impacted minorities or indigenous people, including women, children, or those with disabilities, and who may need additional assistance.
Examples of reports we have received:
- Lack of healthcare – In Isiolo County, Kenya, the Somali and Borana communities are receiving little help from governments and NGOs. Only one isolation centre exists and is currently serving up to four patients, yet the population is roughly 200,000 people. Sources indicate that there is only one trained doctor working part-time at the Isiolo Referral Hospital.
- Discrimination in relief distribution – we have been informed that in both Rwanda and Somalia, those distributing food aid have “skipped” indigenous and minority households and villages.
- Lack of protective equipment – in Pakistan we have been informed that the poorly paid sweepers and sanitation workers (who are all members of religious minority communities) are being asked to work in hospitals with no masks or gloves.
- Emotional and mental challenges – in India, some commentators are stating in public that Muslims brought Covid19 to India and are responsible for the spread of the pandemic there, this is despite clear evidence that this is not the case.
We want to hear from you. You are not alone, and we are here to help. Please contact us at Reportsfirstname.lastname@example.org and we will review your concerns and submit to the relevant United Nations mandates.