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(Implications of Discrimination and Racism during Corona Pandemic) Report for Forum of Development and Human Rights Dialogue- FDHRD

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Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Press Release

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The Unit of Researches and Studies at Forum of Development and Human Rights Dialogue- FDHRD Publishes today Tuesday, August 17, 2021 a report about “Implications of Discrimination and Racism during Corona Pandemic.”

The report ensured that the emergence of the pandemic accompanied an escalation of racial discrimination against non-citizens and colored people in many places around the world. There were forms of critics to acts of some countries towards China as it is the source of the outbreak of the virus. Also, most people from East Asia have been subjected to racism and hatred outside their countries and to bullying at other times, although some forms of international cooperation have prevailed in the health field among many countries.

The report discussed number of topics, most important were:

I) Manifestations of Racism and Discriminations of Corona

It is reported that with the spread of Corona Pandemic, forms of discrimination and bullying appeared on the basis of the country where the outbreak was concentrated (China), and to the peoples belonging to the East Asian people, or in the way in which the infected person and his family dealt, which is what is called “Corona-phobia”.

1)            Racism and Discrimination towards countries

With regard to discrimination and racism towards countries, the report indicated that some countries have been subjected to racism as a result of the outbreak of the Corona virus, especially China and East and Southeast Asian countries.

 The report indicated that one of the emerging forms of discrimination towards countries in our time is the titling of the Corona virus mutations with the names of the countries in which it originates, such as “Chinese virus”, “British strain”, “South African strain”, “Brazilian strain”, and “Indian strain”. Whenever a new strain is formed, the list will include other countries.

In addition, the discoveries of Corona vaccines in developed countries caused a difference in the fairness of their distribution between rich and poor countries, and thus people in developing countries were affected by limitations in their health rights. Because of the international scramble and competition between rich countries to obtain these vaccines, the companies that manufacture them have turned their backs on countries that are unable to compete in the international market to obtain them.

The report also indicated that it is not far from the discrimination and racism that the Palestinian people are exposed to in light of that pandemic that narrows their lifestyles under the Israeli occupation. The Israeli government is exploiting the outbreak of the virus in the occupied territories as a tool of pressure to acquiesce in the demands of the occupation.

The report stated that to mitigate disparities in access to vaccines between rich and developing countries, the United Nations General Assembly established the COVAX mechanism as an initiative to accelerate the equitable availability of tools to combat COVID-19 to all countries (called the ACT Availability Accelerator).

2)            Racism and Discrimination towards Individuals

With regard to discrimination and racism towards individuals, the report stated that the most prominent cases of racism directed at people appear in countries where the number of infected people increases, such as Italy, China and the United States of America. In China, some forms of discrimination and distance from the citizens of Wuhan Province appeared in other Chinese provinces.

It is worth to say that the fear of disease has turned into persecution of the sick person and his family, and the vision of society and the circles close to them changed. So, any contact with the infected person has become called “social stigma.”

Racism also plays a role in health risks. The stress of dealing with racial discrimination can have a negative impact and causes premature aging.

As governments around the world begin to reopen public life and ease restrictions and quarantines, a wide range of human rights issues and concerns arise that can lead to further racial discrimination or negative impacts on ethnic groups and groups. These issues include vaccination development, off-border access testing and protocols; the immunity of passports; monitoring and tracking tools; discriminatory treatment of Virus survivors; and immigration policy and border control management. There are also growing concerns about economic livelihoods and the continued marginalization of people from caste groups and racial and ethnic communities in employment, health, education and housing.

II) Global Efforts to combat implications of Corona

With regard to global efforts to combat the repercussions of Corona, the report clarified those efforts at the personal level, and the moves at the internal level, as well as the efforts of international organizations in facing the repercussions of racism, as follows:

1-            The Individual level

The report states that many individuals used social media to spread awareness and stop hate incidents, with the hashtag #IoNonSonoUnVirus spreading on social media in Italy throughout the crisis, while #IAmNotAVirus has spread in English-speaking countries, and #YoNoSoyUnVirus in Spanish-speaking countries. #IkChinees was introduced by the Chinese community in the Netherlands, encouraging people to order food at Chinese restaurants, take a selfie and share it on social media using the hashtag.

2-            Movements in the internal level

The report explained that some countries have taken measures to demonstrate that even in response to a global crisis, firm values and principles can be adopted, like the following:

• In Spain, the cooperation launched between the Spanish Council for the Elimination of Racial or Racial Discrimination and investigation platforms seeks to combat the spread of fake news related to the Coronavirus and hate speech about Italian society on social media.

• In Lausanne, Switzerland, an information point has been set up to respond to the needs of migrants on a variety of issues related to the pandemic- including racism.

• In New York, the City Commission on Human Rights organizes free educational workshops on human rights and obligations under the law, especially in communities facing high levels of discrimination, bullying, and harassment.

3-            Efforts of International Organizations

The report indicated that international organizations were also active in confronting the repercussions of racism, for example:

• The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched a social media campaign in Mexico to inform citizens of the importance of avoiding hate speech and xenophobia during the coronavirus emergency.

• The United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect has issued a comprehensive Guidance Note that provides guidance to Member States, civil society, the media and other relevant actors such as religious and civic leaders and influencers to address COVID-19 and combat any hate speech.

Finally, the report emphasized that much remains to be taken to preserve the integrity of the principles of equality and non-discrimination and to combat social stigma and hate speech.

Many other measures have become essential in this time of crisis. This includes fact-based information, national awareness campaigns targeting the public to undermine false and misleading information, and provision of guidance and specialized training to national authorities and civil society organizations to ensure that those with a role in protecting rights have the capacity to address the problem.

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