Governments should respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by prioritizing the right to health for all and respect for human rights. In this video, Human Rights Watch staff discuss key human rights dimensions of the pandemic and make recommendations to governments. Human Rights Watch is committed to reporting on the human rights dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic . Our research has identified 40 questions to guide a rights-respecting response to this crisis that addresses the needs of groups most at risk, including people living in poverty , ethnic and religious minorities , women , people with disabilities , older people , LGBT people, migrants , refugees , and children . We have also identified a large variety of responses to the crisis, some of which are positive and others problematic. Positive examples are not intended as prescriptive measures for governments to adopt, but rather as evidence of policy choices open to governments that seek to take their human rights obligations into account. The inclusion of an example should not be taken as an endorsement or critique of that government’s entire approach to addressing the crisis, or its human rights record in general. Prevention and Care Keeping the Public Informed Is your government providing the public with timely, accurate, and accessible information on the spread of the pandemic? Is your government challenging COVID-19 denialism and actively opposing the prosecution of journalists, whistleblowers, and others who have raised legitimate factual concerns about COVID-19? Government officials in Belarus , Brazil , Burundi, China , Mexico , Myanmar , Turkmenistan , the United States , and Zimbabwe have exhibited disturbing denialism about COVID-19, depriving their publics of accurate information on the pandemic. In India , authorities have done little to curb the spread of viral disinformation which claims that the minority Muslim community is deliberately spreading COVID-19. In contrast, United Kingdom police forces are reported to have launched investigations into similar efforts to smear Muslims there. In Bangladesh , Cambodia , China , Egypt , Ethiopia , Turkey , and Venezuela , journalists and others have been arrested and detained for reporting on or expressing opinions about COVID-19 on social media. Egypt and China have expelled journalists. In Bolivia, authorities have used COVID-19 as a justification to threaten political opponents with up to 10 years in prison for spreading “misinformation.” In China, outrage over the reprimand of a whistleblower led to a rare apology from the local police . Has your government lifted all internet shutdowns or broad restrictions on access to information online? Ethiopia lifted a blanket ban on telephone and internet service in the western Oromia region, ending a three-month long shutdown , following criticism that the restrictions would impede the COVID-19 response. However, in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh and conflict-affected parts of Myanmar, people still cannot reach lifesaving information due to government-mandated internet shutdowns . In Kashmir, the Indian government has ordered low 2G internet speeds , throttling the internet and reducing the accessibility of treatment protocols that would […]

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