Countries in North Africa and the Middle East are using the corona crisis to further step up oppression. But elsewhere the pandemic is also exacerbating inequality with serious consequences for refugees, migrants, prisoners and minorities, human rights organization Amnesty International states in its most recent annual report.
Governments in North Africa and the Middle East stepped up attacks on freedom of expression. Egypt and Iran punished health workers who criticized corona policy. Amnesty further lashes out at Israel, which did not provide corona vaccines to the 5 million Palestinians in the occupied territories. The already vulnerable position of guest workers in countries such as Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia also came under further pressure from the pandemic. After being fired, many had no income.
Leaders around the world have relentlessly ‘exploited’ the crisis to continue their attacks on human rights, Amnesty International believes. Recovery was hampered by undermining international cooperation. The organization talks about a “dizzying disdain” by leaders for “our common humanity.”
Amnesty International says it has uncovered a “terrible legacy of deliberately divisive and destructive policies that have perpetuated inequality, discrimination and oppression.” Those policies paved the way for the “devastation Covid-19 has wreaked worldwide and in the Middle East and North Africa,” said Amnesty International’s new Secretary General Agnès Callamard.
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