Pandemya ng pag-abuso sa karapatang pantao sa gitna ng COVID-19

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ni Isabel de Leon

 NAGBABALA si United Nations (UN) Secretary General António Guterres na nahaharap ang mundo sa isang pandemya ng pang-aabuso sa karapatang pantao higit sa problemang pangkalusugan na dala ng COVID-19 at ang epekto nito sa ekonomikal at panlipunang krisis.

“COVID-19 has deepened preexisting divides, vulnerabilities and inequalities, and opened up new fractures, including fault lines in human rights. The pandemic has revealed the interconnectedness of our human family – and of the full spectrum of human rights: civil, cultural, economic, political and social. When any one of these rights is under attack, others are at risk,” paliwanag ni Guterres.

Aniya, nagpapatuloy ang virus dahil ang “poverty, discrimination, the destruction of our natural environment and other human rights failures” ay lumikha ng malaking karupukan sa ating lipunan. “The lives of hundreds of millions of families have been turned upside down – with lost jobs, crushing debt and steep falls in income.”

Pinakamatinding tinamaan ang mga frontline workers, mga may kapansanan, matatanda, kababaihan, mga batang babae at minorya. Sa loob lamang ng ilang buwan, ang pagsulong sa gender equality ay umatras ng ilang dekada. Karamihan sa mga essential frontline workers ay kababaihan, at sa maraming bansa kalimitan itong mula sa “racially and ethnically marginalized” na grupo.

Giit ni Guterres, halos lahat ng dagdag na pasanin sa pangangalaga sa tahanan ay dinadala ng kababaihan.

“Violence against women and girls in all forms has rocketed, from online abuse to domestic violence, trafficking, sexual exploitation and child marriage,” dagdag pa niya.

“The virus has thrived because poverty, discrimination, the destruction of our natural environment and other human rights failures have created enormous fragilities in our societies.”

Ayon pa sa UN chief tumataas ang matinding kahirapan sa unang pagkakataon sa nakalipas na mga dekada “with young people struggling, out of school, and often with limited access to technology.”

Ang pinakabagong inhustisya, aniya, ay ang pagkabigo na masiguro ang makatarungang access sa bakuna. Tanging 10 bansa lamang ang nakagamit sa higit 75 porsiyento ng lahat ng COVID-19 vaccines habang higit 130 bansa ang hindi pa nakatatanggap ng kahit isang dose.

“If the virus is allowed to spread like wildfire in parts of the global south, it will mutate again and again. New variants could become more transmissible, more deadly and potentially threaten the effectiveness of current vaccines and diagnostics. This could prolong the pandemic significantly, enabling the virus to come back to plague the global north – and delay the world’s economic recovery,” paalala ni Guterres.

Dagdag pa niya, naapektuhan din ng virus ang political at civil rights, na higit pang nagpaliit sa civic space. Gamit ang rason ng pandemya, ilang bansa, ani Guterres, ang nagpatupad ng “heavy-handed security responses and emergency measures” upang pigilan ang mga pagtutol, tratuhing krimen ang basikong kalayaan, patahimikin ang malayang pag-uulat, at higpitan ang mga aktibidad ng non-governmental organizations.

Binaggit ni Guterres ang mga human rights defenders, mamamahayag, abogado, aktibista—maging mga medical professionals—na naharap sa pagkaditene, prosekusyon at napasailalim sa intimidasyon at pagmamanman dahil sa pagbatikos sa pagtugon ng pamahalaan sa pandemya. Nagagamit ang mga restriksyon kaugnay ng pandemya upang wasakin ang proseso ng eleksyon at pahinain ang boses ng oposisyon.

May mga pagkakataon din, aniya, na hinaharang ang access sa mga “life-saving COVID-19 information” habang ang nakamamatay na misinformation ay pinapalaganap—maging ng mga nasa kapangyarihan.

“Extremists – including white supremacists and neo-Nazis – have exploited the pandemic to boost their ranks through social polarization and political and cultural manipulation. The pandemic has also made peace efforts more difficult, constraining the ability to conduct negotiations, exacerbating humanitarian needs and undermining progress on other conflict-related human rights challenges,” saad pa niya.

Giit ni Guterres isiniwalat ng COVID-19 ang dalawang pundamental na katotohanan hinggil sa karapatang pantao. “First, human rights violations harm us all. Second, human rights are universal and protect us all.

“An effective response to the pandemic must be based on solidarity and cooperation. Divisive approaches, authoritarianism and nationalism make no sense against a global threat,” aniya.

“With the pandemic shining a spotlight on human rights, recovery provides an opportunity to generate momentum for transformation. To succeed, our approaches must have a human rights lens.”

Paalala ng UN Chief, kailangan ding irespeto ng recovery ang karapatan ng susunod na henerasyon, sa pagpapalakas ng aksyon laban sa climate change upang maabot ang carbon neutrality pagsapit ng 2050 at pagprotekta sa biodiversity.

“This is not a time to neglect human rights; it is a time when, more than ever, human rights are needed to navigate this crisis in a way that will allow us to zero in on achieving inclusive and sustainable development and lasting peace,” payo pa ni Guterres.

“We are all in this together. The virus threatens everyone. Human rights uplift everyone. By respecting human rights in this time of crisis, we will build more effective and equitable solutions for the emergency of today and the recovery for tomorrow. I am convinced it is possible – if we are determined and work together,” aniya pa.