COVID-19 had a devastating effect on human rights, says Amnesty International SA

Friday marks International Human Rights Day and Amnesty International said the world has changed and adapted to an unprecedented health crisis that has left many without access to their basic rights.

Patients are seen lying on hospital beds inside a temporary ward dedicated to the treatment of possible COVID-19 coronavirus patients at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria on 11 January 2021. Picture: Phill Magakoe/AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Amnesty International South Africa said almost two years of the COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating effect on human rights, especially social, economic and cultural rights.

Friday marks International Human Rights Day and Amnesty International said the world had changed and adapted to an unprecedented health crisis that left many without access to their basic rights.

Hospitals, schools, communities and businesses have all taken a strain, with over 90,000 lives now lost to the virus in South Africa, while more than 5.3 million people have died worldwide.

“Unfortunately, the pandemic did not help the global community’s right abuses, with the vaccines being siphoned off by richer countries, while developing countries scrambled, pleaded and begged for vaccines at affordable prices,” said spokesperson Genevieve Quintal.

“No one is safe until we are all safe and until pharmaceutical companies stop putting profit before life. Developing countries – which include those on the African continent – will continue to bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.