A bipartisan, bicameral group of senators are set to introduce legislation to protect human rights around the world during the pandemic.
Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Representatives James P. McGovern (D-Mass.), Ann Wagner (D-Mo.), and Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) announced they will introduce the Protecting Human Rights During Pandemic Act.
The legislation would require the State Department and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to lay out a plan with the goal being to prevent human rights abuses from escalating in the name of the pandemic response.
The plan would be implemented through diplomacy and development assistance with foreign countries.
In a statement published Thursday, the Senators said the United States, with its history of protecting individual rights, should take the lead.
“The Protecting Human Rights During Pandemic Act makes clear that, as a lead drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a long history of global leadership, the United States should encourage the protection of internationally recognized human rights during the Coronavirus response.”
According to Freedom House, A human rights research organization based in Washington, the pandemic is exposing restrictions on freedom of expression around the globe that target the press; as a few examples such as Egypt having revoked a journalists credentials for reporting correct virus figures and Turkey having detained hundreds of people for “provocative” posts about the pandemic.
Rights groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have documented the Chinese Communist Partys continued repression of those who tell the truth about the pandemic, like whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang.
According to Human Rights Watch, “a number of countries, governments have failed to uphold the right to freedom of expression, taking actions against journalists and healthcare workers” during the pandemic.
Senator Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, “As societies around the world take shelter from the coronavirus, we must redouble our efforts to ensure the public health mRead More From Source