Alert of a “disproportionate” effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on racial and ethnic minorities worldwide
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has affirmed that the protests unleashed in the United States following the death of George Floyd during an arrest not only cry out against “police violence”, but also against “inequalities” also revealed during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The virus is exposing endemic inequalities that have been ignored for too long,” said Bachelet, in a message that extends to the entire world but which cites, among the specific cases, that of the United States, where mobilizations for the death of Floyd, an African American, during an intervention carried out by white police officers.
In his view, these protests “are underscored not only by police violence against people of color, but also by inequalities in health, education, employment and endemic racial discrimination.”
Bachelet has assured that there are data around the world that demonstrate the “devastating impact” of the pandemic on certain vulnerable groups and has considered that it is a “disproportionate” and widespread pattern, which in some countries does not come to light not because it does not happen but for lack of information in this regard.
In the case of the United States, the death rate among the African-American population would be more than double that in other groups, while in the United Kingdom higher levels have also been detected among people of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin.
In the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, non-Caucasian people are 62 percent more likely to die from COVID-19, and in the French region of minority residence Seine Saint-Denis, a higher death rate has also been detected than in other areas, according to the UN.
Bachelet has asked the authorities for “urgent” measures, since although the differences in the impact of COVID-19 depending on race or ethnicity do seem evident, “it is less clear what is being done to combat it.” “Countries must focus not only on the impact of these disparities … but also on their causes,” he added.
Among the possible causes, the High Commissioner has cited less access to health care, the presence of more people per home or involvement in jobs more exposed to the virus or with a lower level of protection, such as transportation or cleaning.