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Coronavirus worsens human rights problems says Lottides

Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides

The coronavirus constitutes an “invisible enemy” that has exacerbated human rights issues, Commissioner for Administration and the Protection of Human Rights, Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides said on Thursday.

In a message issued to mark Human Rights Day, Lottides said Covid was posing new challenges for humanity. The measures to stop the virus had spread “an invisible prison” around the planet, she said.

“Inevitably, the result of the innovative measures implemented to prevent the spread, amid a host of economic and other repercussions, was the restriction of the fundamental freedoms of each of us,” she said, adding that this invisible prison was not limited to a place and time.

But, she warned, within this paradigm, it was more important than ever that basic human rights were enforced without discrimination.

Lottides said that from the beginning of the pandemic until today, her office has had to make a series of interventions  and make concrete suggestions to mitigate the adverse effects observed mainly on vulnerable groups of the population such as people with disabilities, those in shelters, the elderly, children, schools, right to information, and admission to unmarried couples stymied by Covid-restrictions.

“Today and every day is a constant struggle to identify abuse, and to need to call out any disproportionate measure,” she added. “Today there is an impetus, without tyranny and also without endangering the rights of our fellow human beings, for personal and collective responsibility but always with an eye on the state’s measures so that they do not exceed what is absolutely necessary to deal with the invisible enemy.”

 

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