London, Apr 7 (FN Agency) An outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease that first emerged in China a little over a year ago, swept across the world in 2020, leaving devastated economies, deepening global inequality and worsening the already dire situation with migrants and refugees trapped in packed camps with poor sanitation conditions, Amnesty International said Wednesday in a fresh report. The human rights-focused non-profit has published a 408-page report called “Amnesty International Report 2020/21: The State of the World’s Human Rights,” analysing the situation in 149 countries amid the pandemic.
International organisations and rights groups have repeatedly urged authorities to relocate migrants and asylum seekers from overpopulated camps, especially in Greece, as migrants are unable to follow social distancing rules and adhere to the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines amid the pandemic. The situation is further complicated by the fact that over a third of residents in many Greek camps are minors. “The global pandemic has both exposed and deepened global inequality and has had the worst impact on the most vulnerable people in the world. … The pandemic worsened the already precarious situation for refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants,” Amnesty International said in a press release.
The report also sheds light on increased domestic and gender-based violence including due to movement restrictions and pandemic-related lockdowns, leaving victims trapped with their abusers. “The pandemic has cast a harsh light on the world’s inability to cooperate effectively in times of dire global need. … The only way out of this mess is through international cooperation. States must ensure vaccines are quickly available to everyone, everywhere and free at the point of use. Pharmaceutical companies must share their knowledge and technology so no one is left behind,” Agnes Callamard, the secretary general of Amnesty International, said.
According to the WHO estimates, COVID-19 has driven up to 124 million more people into extreme poverty, as a result of the health and resulting economic impacts of the pandemic, which was declared as such on March 11, 2020. To date, more than 132 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 2.87 million fatalities.