US Human Rights Network Blog

US Human Rights Network Blog



Do human rights violations make your community more at risk for coronavirus?

Mar 13, 2020

During this time of uncertainty and fear around the spread of COVID-19, the US Human Rights Network stands in solidarity with our community members who are too often blamed, excluded, and left at risk to pandemic illnesses due to the ongoing violation of their human rights, including sex workers; immigrants; people in jails, prisons, and detention centers; people facing homelessness and eviction; people in poverty who do not have the option to work from home or keep themselves otherwise socially distant; and people living without access to adequate sanitation. 

We stand with those who are already experiencing illness or financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus, and with those who do not have access to medical care. We uplift the fact that millions of people in the United States cannot afford to see a doctor or pay for the medical treatment that they might require, and that many more fear seeking medical help due to their immigration statuses. We stand with people of Asian descent who have faced racism, discrimination, and stigma that has no scientific bearing, including facing verbal and physical violence.

The US Human Rights Network stands with our partners and members in calling for:

  • A nationwide moratorium on evictions, utility shutoffs, and foreclosures;
  • The release of medically fragile and elderly inmates who are vulnerable to infection from jails, prisons, and detention centers;
  • An expansion of SNAP (formerly food stamps) to provide free lunches to children who relied on free/discounted meals from their schools prior to their schools closing;
  • The recognition of healthcare as a human right, regardless of wealth or immigration status, and access to free testing, treatment, and vaccinations for all people;
  • Federally mandated paid sick leave for workers, and appropriate protective measures for sanitation and healthcare workers on the frontlines;
  • An end to dangerous rhetoric that attributes race, national origin, immigration status, or other characteristics to carrying the coronavirus.

The coronavirus pandemic is an example of how interconnected our communities are. This virus reminds us how borders are socially constructed to create difference. It shines a light on our shared humanity and our shared fate as a species. We ask our members to take a moment today and each day moving forward to channel anxieties and fears about the pandemic into action in solidarity with the most vulnerable members of your communities. 

If your community is particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus due to ongoing human rights violations, and you are involved in providing resources/tools to protect your community, please share this information with us. We would like to uplift your work and bring more attention to the issues your communities face. Please send this information to USHRN Chief of Strategy and Programming Whitney Yang: