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Statement: MRG and Covid-19

23 March 2020

We hope you and your loved ones are well and safe. As an international organisation, we have many staff and partners based across the world, and like yourselves, we are all being affected by measures States are taking to stop the spread of Covid-19. It is reported by WHO that 187 countries are currently affected by this pandemic, uniting us all towards the goal of controlling this virus together.

The MRG offices across the world have asked their staff to work from home following growing concerns of escalating the spread of infections. As far as we know, our staff is relatively healthy and no one has yet been diagnosed.

Our main concern is to keep staff and partners as safe as possible while regularly reviewing solutions to maintain relative normality in our day-to-day business. Our recommendations are as follows:

Working Remotely:
We are lucky to have the technological capacity to conduct a large portion of our work online. Most of our teams are currently working from home and maintaining regular contact to ensure that our work and that of our partners continues at a time when minorities and indigenous peoples may be ever more vulnerable.

We are advising staff and partners not travel, in particular via public transport. We support people returning to their families in affected areas as travel bans do not restrict citizens at the moment. However, we understand that the best way to curb the spread of the virus is to restrict movement and contact with other people.

We have therefore had to postpone a number of forthcoming training events and regional gatherings. We have informed affected participants and look forward to organising these events again, as soon as the situation permits.

Online Communication:
We maintain full availability online. Our in-house communication systems are in full operation keeping communication open, not only for work, but also to guard against isolation. Please continue to contact us via email, Signal, WhatsApp and other routine communication methods as all staff can access these from home. Please bear in mind that some staff are in quarantine or self-isolation or may be caring for loved ones who are sick. Please be patient if they do not respond as quickly as you would expect.

Discrimination in accessing health care:
We are interested in hearing about cases whereby members of a minority or indigenous community who are presenting Covid-19 symptoms are denied care or offered lower quality health care, please document such examples with as much evidence as possible and send them to [email protected].

MRG stands in solidarity with you as we brace ourselves for lifestyle changes and potential personal losses that this pandemic may bring. Despite this worrying global situation, we reaffirm our commitment to safeguarding the rights of minority and indigenous communities and implementing indivisible human rights for all. We remain at your disposal in supporting your work, voicing your concerns and seeking to promote the rights of marginalised communities everywhere.

We send our best wishes for safety and good health to you, your families and loved ones.