Lack of resources or the use of insurance schemes should never be a justification to discriminate against certain groups of the coronavirus patients, a group of more than 30 UN experts said Thursday.
“Everyone, without exception, has the right to life-saving interventions and this responsibility lies with the government,” said the UN experts and special rapporteurs in a statement.
They said that people with disabilities, older persons, minority communities, indigenous peoples, internally displaced people, people affected by extreme poverty, and living in overcrowded settings, need to receive support from governments.
“Advances in biomedical sciences are very important to realize the right to health. But equally important are all human rights,” they said.
“COVID-19 is a serious global challenge. But it is also a wake-up call for the revitalization of universal human rights principles.” The UN experts added.
All health-related policies must apply principles of non-discrimination, participation, empowerment, and accountability.
The experts called on States to act with determination to provide the needed resources to all sectors of public health systems – from prevention and detection to treatment and recovery.
“But addressing this crisis is more than that. States must take additional social protection measures so that their support reaches those who are at most risk of being disproportionately affected by the crisis,” they stressed.
“That includes women, who are already at a disadvantaged socio-economic position, bear an even heavier care burden, and live with a heightened risk of gender-based violence.”
The group of experts expressed their gratitude and admiration to health workers around the world who heroically battle the outbreak.
“They face huge workloads, risk their own lives, and are forced to face painful ethical dilemmas when resources are too scarce. Healthcare workers need to have all possible support from States, businesses, media, and the public at large,” they said.
When the vaccine for COVID-19 comes, it should be provided without discrimination, the experts stressed.