Amnesty International: Pandemic cast harsh light on world’s inability to co-operate effectively, equitably

COVID-19 pandemic times laid bare the devastating consequences of abuse of power, structurally and historically. Equality of access to vaccination needs to be created within countries and between states, SİA informs referring to the Amnesty International report for 2020-2021.

“The COVID-19 pandemic may not define who we are, but it certainly has amplified what we should not be. Seeing this clearly, again people stood up. They rose against inequality, they rose against police violence targeted disproportionately against Black people, against minorities, poor, and homeless people. They rose against exclusion, patriarchy, and the hateful rhetoric and cruel conduct of supremacist leadership. The demands of the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements echoed the world over,” reads the report.

But the pandemic also amplified the mediocre and mendacious, the selfish and the fraudulent, among the world’s political leaders, according to the authors of the article.

“As I write this, the richest countries have effected a near-monopoly of the world’s supply of vaccines, leaving countries with the fewest resources to face the worst health and human rights outcomes and thus the longest-lasting economic and social disruption.

And as people die in their millions, and millions more lose their livelihoods, what are we to make of the fact that top billionaires’ incomes have soared, that tech-giants’ profits have escalated, that the stock markets across the world’s financial centers have grown? Crucially, what are their proposals for shouldering their fair share of the pandemic burden; for ensuring an enduring fair and equitable recovery? In the early days of 2021, still their silence on this is unbroken. How can it be that, yet again, this time under a pandemic, the global economy has meant that those who had the least gave the most?”

The pandemic has cast a harsh light on the world’s inability to co-operate effectively and equitably at the onset of a low-probability, high-impact global event, according to the report.

“Immediately, authorities must work to accelerate production and delivery of vaccines for all. That is a most fundamental, even rudimentary, test of the world’s capacity for co-operation: to think globally, act locally, and to plan for the long-term.”

It is also necessary to create equality of access to vaccination within countries and between states. Collaboration between countries is required to ensure that affordable vaccines and treatments are available for all.

When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, states consistently referred to the urgent need to contain, mitigate and defeat the pandemic while fully respecting human rights. While the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVAX facility represented a positive global initiative aimed at ensuring more countries could access vaccines, it was undermined by the non-participation of Russia and the USA, the hoarding of vaccines by rich countries and the failure of companies to share their intellectual property.

More than 90 countries introduced export restrictions affecting items including medical equipment, PPE, pharmaceutical products and food.

Wealthy states also blocked adoption of a proposal at the World Trade Organization for a temporary waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 products that was designed to facilitate universal access. Disagreement in the UN Security Council between the USA and China over reference to the WHO delayed the passing of a resolution on a global ceasefire to support the COVID-19 response for three months.

While the G20 agreed a limited suspension of debt payments from the poorest countries, it fell far short of delivering its own stated aim of a coordinated large-scale response.

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