Lucia Giurgeca - Human Rights
Can human rights survive COVID-19? As it becomes more likely that the virus will affect us in multiple waves in the coming years, governments are grappling with what to do to minimize mortality until a vaccine is created.
Many of us have become familiar with the technique of social distancing and yet some argue it’s not enough. Some analysts point to China, Israel, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan as models in the push back against the spread of SARS-CoV-2, suggesting a wholesale menu of techniques.
It seems that widespread testing, preparation and properly equipped medical personnel are only the beginning for defeating a disease like COVID-19. Invasive methods, such as tracking apps, facial recognition technology, tracing credit card transactions, using cell phone information, video footage and public posting of detailed information of the afflicted provide additional means for governments to act.Yet such techniques violate some of the core values of liberal democratic regimes. Human rights to freedom of movement, the right to privacy, emerging data rights and the right to be forgotten are all threatened with invasive actions taken by governments. Given the challenges of COVID-19, do governments have a choice?
Human rights might be pervasive in the language of global politics, but their persistence depends on actions of individuals and their governments.