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COVID-19 security measures no excuse for excessive use of force, say UN Special Rapporteurs

GENEVA (17 April 2020) – UN Human rights experts have expressed grave concern at the multiplication of accounts of police killings and other acts of violence within the context of COVID-19 emergency measures.

“We are alarmed at the rise of reports of killings and other instances of excessive use of force targeting in particular people living in vulnerable situations,” said the Special Rapporteurs.

“Persons in vulnerable situations such as people living in poverty and those living in slums, homeless persons, minorities, individuals in detention, women and children victims of domestic violence, migrants and refugees, trans women and all those who defend their rights, are already affected disproportionately by the virus. No-visitor policies in nursing homes and home care exacerbate the risk of violence, maltreatment, abuse and neglect of older persons and others living in institutions.”

“All these people who are often disproportionately affected by the virus, because of their precarious conditions of existence, should not be victimized further because of state of emergency measures.”

The experts reminded governments and law enforcement agencies that the prohibition against arbitrary deprivation of life, torture and other ill-treatment, is absolute and non-derogable at all times.