Showing posts with label Government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Government. Show all posts

COVID-19 Discrimination fueled by Governments


During COVID-19, elected figures may take advantage of pandemics like COVID-19 to push political agendas that promote higher levels of bigotry and inequality against some classes in society, or that undermine liberal democratic institutions.

 When it comes to allocating limited health services or economic assistance, governments can favor some citizens over others. Some politicians and public figures, such as Italy's former interior minister Matteo Salvini, who has been particularly outspoken about border security, have used the pandemic politically. The pandemic offered cover for him to criticize his political rivals and push an uncivil and racist anti-migrant campaign, which targeted African migrants in particular. Messages and initiatives like this may have devastating effects for historically oppressed people, which are much more vulnerable in the light of COVID-19.


Politicians may also use the global health issue as a pretext to continue attacking western democratic institutions and liberties. 

The pandemic has the potential to escalate authoritarian overreach and populist politicians' opportunistic accumulation of control. In the name of public health, defense, and general national security, leaders can further muzzle minority groups and take unilateral action against certain segments of society. Hungary's Viktor Orbán, for example, has imposed stringent restrictions on free expression, granting himself full authority to enact new legislation calling for up to five years in jail for dealing with quarantine efforts or releasing what he considers to be "false news."


This initiatives have the potential to successfully censor political opponents and healthcare professionals who can oppose government health policies. 

The virus, according to Orbán, is a challenge related to unwelcome migrants. '[w]e are fighting a two-front battle,' he says, emphasizing the connection between the virus and migrants. The migration front is one, and the coronavirus front is the other. It appears that Orbán will use his emergency powers to promote nativist policies that threaten communities he perceives as threats, such as global business interests, cosmopolitan leaders, international students, and refugees.





COVID-19 provides opportunities for inequality and blatant coercion for a wide variety of governments around the world. 

Expanded repression, systematic censorship, bans on freedom of movement, and harsh sentences have given hundreds of regimes the power to tighten liberal democratic standards and discriminate against some of their people. With systematic suppression of fundamental civil liberties, potential challenges to political and social freedoms, as well as other human rights, are particularly pronounced. Many of the threats COVID-19 presents to western democratic values and systems have been identified by prominent international organizations such as the United Nations, which have formulated guidelines for governments to implement in order to prevent bigotry and sexism during the pandemic. 



In certain nations, selective lockdowns highlight some of the difficulties policymakers face in juggling public health issues with protecting the rights and safety of the general population.

Protesters in Madrid, for example, accused the regional government of discriminating against the poor by ordering targeted lockdowns in low-income areas. The government insisted that the interventions be enforced in regions where infection rates were the greatest. However, one official indicated that the higher infection rates were partly attributed to immigrants' "way of life," complicating claims that policies were made purely on the basis of pragmatism. A planned lockout was also imposed on residential towers in Melbourne, Australia, in order to contain an epidemic among residents. Those who saw the reforms as punitive and felt they put a particularly heavy burden on people from already vulnerable communities criticized the ‘heavy-handed' hard lockout of, public housing tenants. A former UN special rapporteur went so far as to call the government's reaction "shocking and highly biased," also suggesting that it was a "attack on human dignity." 



The pandemic has posed several threats to moral civility values. Overt hatred and religious bigotry, in some of the worse situations, will exacerbate tensions in already segregated communities.


Islamophobia and a hospital's failure to treat two Muslim women in India, for example, resulted in the death of their newborns in an especially horrible incident.

Political and social officials must work quickly to resolve overt discrimination and help represent the demands of vulnerable people. The public must be aware of the pandemic's unfair impact on certain populations and assist in protecting the most disadvantaged whilst still helping to combat injustice and risks to liberal democratic norms. Domestic policymakers and foreign organizations all have a role to play in better recognizing and combating these challenges, which includes improving justice, oversight, and the rule of law. 



Policies aimed at preserving and enhancing moral civility do not only target acts that expressly violate liberal democratic values; they should also provide measures to improve government in general. 

As a consequence of deliberate segregation, the virus will overwhelmingly impact the most culturally and linguistically diverse segments of several major cities. 

However, segregation may often be unintended or secondary, as a result of linguistic differences or a lack of government involvement with some ethnic groups. Multi-pronged methods that incorporate meaningful communication, clear content through cultures, and purposeful interaction with a target audience will help governments and public health authorities effectively disseminate messages. In multilingual cultures, for example, English-language messaging could approach younger family members with the goal of a corresponding "re-narration process" among other family members in their native tongue. 



In addition to engaging multicultural groups in the implementation of appropriate policies, it is critical to adapt communications to their beliefs, distribute knowledge through trustworthy messengers (e.g. religious leaders), use open contact networks (e.g. social media), and establish multicultural organizations that can educate national policymakers on health issues.


Understanding the unique demands and concerns that diverse populations face, as well as having the input needed to ensure the adoption of successful public health strategies, requires consultation. Efforts to provide for and strengthen the concerns of vulnerable people may serve to mitigate some of the pandemic's disproportionate impacts on populations, which can be seen as (un)intentional prejudice. Consultation will also help people make better decisions regardless of their identity symbols, such as age. 

For example, we saw surges in cases of viral transmission among young people at different times during the pandemic, including major outbreaks at US universities.

To find innovative ways to limit the transmission of the virus, come up with targeted solutions to alleviate burden on mental wellbeing, and enlist them in a movement to fight disinformation on social media, there is an immediate need for dialogue and co-design with young people.