Pandemic increased human rights violations in the Americas

human rights abuses pandemic
Protesters in Mexico City demand justice for victims of sexual abuse and femicide. Photo: Alfredo Hernandez Rios/Shutterstock

In its annual report, NGO Amnesty International says the pandemic has deepened decades of inequality, neglect, and human rights abuses in the Americas — the worst-hit region by Covid-19.

The NGO singles out Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Venezuela — but also the U.S. — as countries which have “issued confusing health messages, failed to implement policies to protect those most at risk, or failed to ensure full transparency.”

At the beginning of 2020, the Americas was the world’s most unequal region — a reality that the pandemic has only made worse. Over 22 million people fell below the poverty line amid Covid-19, while the number of those living in extreme poverty grew by 8 million. As we have explained in The Brazilian Report, the coronavirus pushed waves of Latin Americans into the gig economy, where they are denied labor protections and job stability.

The pandemic also became a cover for human rights abuses — such as summary detainments at the Mexican border by U.S. law enforcement agencies, or when some Latin American countries used restrictions as a means of repression against specific populations.