Covid-19 and Minorities: A Test for Our Humanity
By Joshua Castellino, Executive Director at Minority Rights Group International
We know the virus will kill many, disproportionally affecting the vulnerable, and societies have been alert to this, ensuring extra protection for the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions.
The last few years have seen our political space filled with the politics of hate. The formula is straightforward: find someone different, turn the majority against them, claim the levers of power, access the wealth beyond.
Entrenched ossified structural discrimination has kept certain communities within our societies beyond the reach of rights. They may not have shelters to stay home in; may not be able to access life-saving information to prevent spread; may not live in places where social distancing is possible and often live in subsistence conditions where lock-downs will kill them from hunger before the virus.
At Minority Rights Group we have been working hard since the commencement of the pandemic. Our 160 partners globally represent the form of vulnerability I am referring to. They are out of preventative messaging loops due to media reach or language barriers, live in conditions that will not secure containment, are dependent on eking out subsistence from collapsing economies, and are terrified about relying on health systems that will discriminate against them.
The agenda for action is clear
document discrimination against vulnerable groups, so organisations can react swiftly, and spread word about this form of vulnerability so we can collectively protect communities in the short term and become conscious of how steadily we have been programmed to fail this test of humanity.
Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights