Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /usr/www/users/urnnet/a/story.php on line 43 UN Secretary General Decries Repressive Enforcement of COVID-19 Guidelines :: Uganda Radionetwork
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said
that COVID-19 pandemic has provided a pretext for repressive security responses
that have curtailed civic space and media freedom.
Guterres in his message to commemorate the Human Rights Day that is observed
every 10th December, called for human rights to be at the front and the center
of the COVID-19 response and recovery worldwide.
His remarks come at the backdrop of violations of rights by states
while enforcing COVID-19 preventive guidelines.
In Uganda, more than 50 people were killed last month during protests following
the arrest of Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, the National Unity Platform's
Presidential candidate for flouting the COVID-19 guidelines.
Security personnel have also dispersed campaign meetings
especially organized by opposition politicians.
According to Guterres, the pandemic has reinforced two fundamental
truths about human rights, including the observation that violations harm us
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact
on vulnerable groups including frontline workers, people with disabilities,
older people, women and girls, and minorities. It has thrived because poverty,
inequality, discrimination, the destruction of our natural environment and
other human rights failures, has created enormous fragility in our
societies”, he said.
He, however, says that at the same time, the pandemic is
undermining human rights, by providing a pretext for heavy-handed security responses
and repressive measures that curtail civic space and media freedom. He says
divisive approaches, authoritarianism and nationalism make no sense against a
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Guterres says in his remarks that human rights are universal and
protect everyone, underscoring how effective pandemic response must be based on
solidarity and cooperation.
He says that people and their rights must be at the centre of response
and recovery, and to beat the pandemic.
“We need universal, rights-based frameworks like health coverage
for all, to beat this pandemic and protect us for the future”, he said.