Human Rights Press Statements in the Context of COVID-19

Recent weeks have seen strong and principled statements by UN human rights institutions and actors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on human rights norms and instruments, they are as relevant to refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced and stateless persons as they are to others. They have been compiled below for the use of UNHCR operations, bureau and others, to reinforce advocacy and engagement with States and other partners in calling for respect for rights of persons of concern in the current context, including where exceptional measures are being put in place to safeguard public health.

These can be used to recall that general calls for respect for human rights in the current crisis are equally applicable to refugees, stateless and internally displaced people. As underlined recently in the joint press release by UNHCR, OHCHR, WHO and IOM, we are all vulnerable to the threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic; but refugees, displaced, stateless as well as migrants are particularly at risk. The below statements provide opportunities to highlight the applicability of basic rights to persons of concern in relevant discussions, including around people with vulnerabilities; detention and restrictions of free movement; and persons of diverse sexual orientation or gender identity, and others.