The Civil Society Action Committee to protect migrants and refugees in this global COVID-19 pandemic crisis released a Global Civil Society Statement on April 7, 2020 to address their concerns with how migrants and refugees should be handled during this COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on resources and has drastically lowered the quality of life for everyone worldwide. However, migrants and refugees were already struggling prior to the onset of this pandemic, and this has only worsened their situations. The global community needs to come together to stand in solidarity with them and be advocates for their protection.
The Civil Society Action Committee in their statement, outlines the principles that should be considered when making decisions concerning migrants and refugees as well as offering suggestions as to how to better mitigate the spread of the virus with tips specifically tailored for migrant and refugee communities.
Some people neglect to remember that migrants and refugees are actively involved in the labor force, even though they have historically been denied the right to adequate safety measures and considerations.
During this time, workplaces are being advised to provide their employees with safety precautions such as hand sanitizers and other equipment that will help prevent the spread of the virus, such as gloves and masks. These measures need also to be provided for migrants and refugees because continuing to neglect them especially during this dangerous time, directly endangers their health and well being.
On the other hand, the dangers of COVID-19 do not cease after the work day ends, they also extend into the home lives of every people. The virus spreads easily through close contact and the strategies of physical distancing and self-isolating have been employed by many places around the world to mitigate its spread. However, migrants and refugees tend to live in cramped camps or may be held in detention facilities, where they are unable to physically distance from one another. As a result, the virus is able to spread at a faster rate and proves to be a very deadly reality for those living in these situations and a source of concern for all the population surrounding them.
If they are found to have contracted the virus, they may not even be able to seek out the help needed in order to safely recover. Their status as a migrant or refugee may block them from being able to receive help, and the overall fear of being discovered and sent back also plays a role in deterring them from seeking help.
No one should ever have to sacrifice their health and safety no matter their status, because those are human rights at its most basic meaning. This pandemic has highlighted the imminent need for a global effort to better cater to the needs of migrants and refugees that are so often being ignored and finally to set up rules for safe and regulated migrations.
The resistance that migrants and refugees are facing with from societies around the world, are negatively affecting their ability to seek out help and receive sufficient aid. This pandemic shows the importance of having access to safe housing and healthcare, because they are necessary in order to survive this deadly virus. This implies that at the starting journey, the migration should foresee where to end it.
Hopefully this time will bring people closer as a global community and there will be more of a willingness to look out for migrants and refugees as a person with rights and duties as every human being. The society as a whole should be advocating reactivity and proactively for changes so that they are no longer denied their basic human rights and empowered to assume their unavoidable duties. The mantra no one is to be left behind should not be an empty slogan.