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News in Brief 30 April 2020

News in Brief 30 April 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Disabilities are no reason to deny people their rights during COVID: Bachelet

People with disabilities should be treated just like anyone else at risk from COVID-19, the UN’s top rights official, Michelle Bachelet said on Thursday.

Highlighting reports that that the lives of persons with disabilities “may somehow be given different weight than others” during the pandemic, Ms. Bachelet said that medical decisions about them should be made solely according to “individualized clinical assessments and medical need”. In a guidance note for States, the UN human rights office OHCHR sets out major concerns and highlights promising practices already being undertaken around the world.

The recommendations are in response to the High Commissioner’s warning that people with disabilities are in danger in their own homes, where access to day-to-day support and services may be limited owing to lockdowns.

Some may also suffer greatly from being isolated or confined, problems that can be overcome, Ms Bachelet insisted, as she called for States to adapt existing COVID measures for those in need.

Cuba sanctions is obstructing aid response to coronavirus, say rights experts

The US economic and financial embargo on Cuba should be lifted, UN-appointed independent rights experts said on Thursday, insisting that it is preventing humanitarians who are trying to help the country fight the COVID-19 pandemic. In their appeal, the Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts who report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva urged the withdrawal of measures “aimed at establishing trade barriers”.

Tariffs should be banned, they said, along with quotas and other measures that prevent financing for the purchase of medicine, medical equipment, food and other essential goods.

Repeated calls to the US to waive sanctions had been ignored, the experts continued.

Bringing the virus under control “can only be achieved through joint efforts by all States and international organisations in a spirit of multilateralism, cooperation and solidarity,” they said.

Greta Thunberg adds voice to child rights driven coronavirus campaign

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has added her support to efforts to protect young people everywhere from the COVID-19 pandemic with a $100,000 donation, UNICEF said on Thursday.

A report issued this month by the United Nations warned that while children have been largely spared from the direct health effects of the disease up to this point, the crisis has had a profound effect on their wellbeing.

Immediate concerns include food shortages, over-stretched healthcare systems, violence and a lack of education.

“Like the climate crisis, the coronavirus pandemic is a child rights crisis,” said Ms. Thunberg, adding that all children will be affected “now and in the long-term”.

The Danish activist’s cash donation came through aid organization Human Act, which also gave UNICEF another $100,000 for its emergency programmes to fight COVID-19.

It will pay for soap, masks, gloves, hygiene kits, protective equipment, and ensure access and availability of key supplies and services for children, women and vulnerable people.

Daniel Johnson, UN News.

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  • Disabilities are no reason to deny people their rights during COVID: Bachelet

  • Cuba sanctions is obstructing aid response to coronavirus, say rights experts

  • Greta Thunberg adds voice to child rights driven coronavirus campaign

Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
Audio Duration
2'47"
Photo Credit
UNDP Bangladesh/Fahad Kaizer