United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said Tuesday that the alarming inequalities exposed by the COVID-19 outbreak are fueling the widespread protests affecting hundreds of cities across the United States.
“This virus is exposing endemic inequalities that have too long been ignored. In the United States, protests triggered by the killing of George Floyd are highlighting not only police violence against people of colour, but also inequalities in health, education, employment and endemic racial discrimination,” the UN human rights chief said in a press release issued Tuesday.
“It is a tragedy that it took COVID-19 to expose what should have been obvious, that unequal access to healthcare, overcrowded housing and pervasive discrimination make our societies less stable, secure and prosperous,” she added.
People from racial and ethnic minorities are also found in higher numbers in some jobs that carry increased risk, including in the transport, health and cleaning sectors, she said.
“The fight against this pandemic cannot be won if Governments refuse to acknowledge the blatant inequalities that the virus is bringing to the fore,” she said, adding that the efforts to tackle COVID-19 and to begin the recovery process will only be successful when “everyone’s rights to life and health are protected without discrimination”.