MENA: COVID-19 amplified inequalities and was used to further ramp up repression

Launch of Amnesty International’s global annual report. Pandemic lays bare systemic inequality in MENA and worldwide with refugees, migrants and prisoners severely impacted.Throughout 2020 MENA governments ramped up assault on freedom of expression and in some cases punished health workers who spoke out. World leaders hampered recovery by undermining international cooperation. New Secretary General Agnès Callamard calls for reset of broken systems.

The global pandemic has exposed the terrible legacy of deliberately divisive and destructive policies that have perpetuated inequality, discrimination and oppression and paved the way for the devastation wrought by COVID-19 globally and within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Amnesty International said in its annual report published today.

Amnesty International Report 2020/21: The State of the World’s Human Rights covers 149 countries and delivers a comprehensive analysis of human rights trends globally in 2020. 

The report also highlights how the response to the global pandemic has been further undermined by leaders in MENA and across the world who have ruthlessly exploited the crisis to continue their attacks on human rights. 

“COVID-19 has brutally exposed and deepened inequality both within and between countries and highlighted the staggering disregard our leaders have for our shared humanity.  Decades of divisive policies, misguided austerity measures, and choices by leaders not to invest in crumbling public infrastructure, have left too many easy prey to this virus,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s new Secretary General. 

English | April 7, 2021



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