By Jeshua Bardoo
In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19), which the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a pandemic, there have been many incidents around the world linking the spread of COVID-19 with racist attacks against people who may appear to have “Chinese” or “Asian” features and/or people discriminating against others who they think may have COVID-19.
According to Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”. Moreover, according to Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, “All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”.
No one deserves to have their fundamental rights and freedoms violated or to be subjected to any form of discrimination or inhuman and degrading treatment for something which though they may try to avoid and control, they ultimately may not be immune from. People may have all reasons to worry and even be fearful for their health but that does not mean that they should discriminate against others or inflict harm upon them in a way that may negatively impact their physical and/or mental health. Amongst other things, doing this may open one up to legal action/s being brought against them.
Just think about yourself and how you would like to be treated by others if you had somehow contracted COVID-19. If you would not like others to discriminate against you and/or treat you inhumanly and degradingly if you were to contract COVID-19 then please do not do it to others and if you are already doing it to others I urge you to kindly and respectfully stop. Thank you.
Jeshua Bardoo is a 2019/2020 Vincentian Chevening Scholar studying International Human Rights Law at Brunel University London.
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