Good Health Indicators are Not Enough: Lessons from COVID-19 in Peru

Camila Gianella, Ruth Iguiñiz-Romero, María José Romero, and Jasmine Gideon Peru received international acclaim for being one of the first countries to implement a comprehensive package of measures to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government imposed a general lockdown, combined with social protection measures—mainly cash transfers and the distribution of food parcels. This was an attempt to mitigate the impact of the lockdown, in a country where…

Learning from the Past: COVID-19 and Affordable Health Treatment

Diya Uberoi Around the world, research to find a possible vaccine or treatment for the novel coronavirus has begun. The magnitude of the pandemic and its impact on the global economy makes the need for affordable medicines and treatment a pressing issue. But if we are to win the battle to contain COVID-19, then states must prioritize equitable access to affordable prevention, treatment, and care, and to do that, there…

COVID-19, Asylum, and False Binaries of Detention

Katherine R. Peeler and Scott H. Podolsky Aurelia had traveled more than 2,000 miles, mostly on foot, with her 7-year-old daughter, Heidy, to the Mexico-Arizona border from Guatemala. In her 24 years, Aurelia had endured a life of poverty, rape, and death threats to her and her daughter by her partner. Throughout, their would-be protectors—the police—did nothing. So they fled, seeking asylum in the United States. That was in 2017.…

COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP): A Promising Human Rights Approach

Katrina Perehudoff and Jennifer Sellin How do we guarantee access to COVID-19 vaccines and therapies, and secure health-related human rights for all? We’ve heard a string of promises in the race for new vaccines and therapies. European governments, Australia, Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and others have pledged US$10.5 billion to develop vaccines and health products against COVID-19. Some world leaders promised that these products will be ‘global public goods’. How…

Revisiting Restrictions of Rights After COVID-19

Leonard Rubenstein and Matthew DeCamp The Siracusa Principles have had a good run over the past 35 years.[1] The public health provisions of the principles, which contain criteria for limiting civil and political rights to advance various public purposes, have offered governments standards for acceptable restrictions on rights to reduce the spread of infectious disease. They require that restrictions be based on legitimate aim, law, and necessity; evidence-based; the least-restrictive…

Do COVID-19 Responses Imperil the Human Rights of People with Disabilities?

Gautam Gulati, Colum P. Dunne, and Brendan D. Kelly The COVID-19 pandemic is a time of unprecedented tension between the rights of the individual and those of society. Internationally, new regulations govern freedom of movement, access to healthcare and, in some countries, “intrusive biopolitics”.1 This presents the complex interface between human rights and public health. Prior to the current pandemic, the clearest examples of the tensions between the well-being of…

COVID-19 and Mental Health: Challenges Ahead Demand Changes 

Dainius Pūras I have no doubt that around the world we will soon be facing an increase in mental health issues in the wake COVID-19. The impact of the pandemic, and the measures taken to contain it, may well be long lasting on our mental well-being, and this is now being acknowledged by the United Nations. Prolonged mental distress will be fuelled by the direct threats associated with the spread…

Leaving No-one Behind: The Human Tragedy of Children in African Prisons during COVID-19

Marie Claire Van Hout On March 25th 2020, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged States to relieve prison congestion and reduce the prison/detainee population.[1] Accordingly,. assessing alternatives to imprisonment and implementing compassionate, conditional or early release schemes has become a critical component of the COVID-19 response and many states have started releasing prisoners (for example, Iran, Argentina, Chile, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Tunisia and Turkey).[2] UNICEF and the Alliance for…

Public Money Creation to Maintain Fundamental Human Rights during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Takondwa Chimowa, Stephen Hall, and Bernadette O’Hare As governments around the world respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with a range of policies aimed at mitigating the economic fallout, we argue that low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) should prioritize public money creation over foreign borrowing. Experience shows that the cost of servicing foreign debt diverts resources from public services and can undermine fundamental economic, social and cultural rights, such as the…

Global Health in the Age of COVID-19: Responsive Health Systems Through a Right to Health Fund

Eric A. Friedman, Lawrence O. Gostin, Allan Maleche, Alessandra Nilo, Fogue Foguito, Umunyana Rugege, Sasha Stevenson, Githinji Gitahi, Ana Lorena Ruano, Michele Barry, Sara Hossain, Franciscka Lucien, Itai Rusike, Martin Hevia, Ala Alwan, Edwin Cameron, Paul Farmer, Walter Flores, Adila Hassim, Rosemary Mburu, Joia Mukherjee, Moses Mulumba, Dainius Puras, and Mirta Roses Periago Abstract We propose that a Right to Health Capacity Fund (R2HCF) be created as a central institution…