Since the coronavirus hit Latin America in March, some governments, such as Honduras and El Salvador, are using the pandemic to expand corrupt or repressive rule or respond with police brutality. Others, like Brazil, are willfully disregarding their duty to protect their citizens.
On May 7, the Protecting Human Rights During Pandemic Act, a bipartisan bill aimed at preventing human rights abuses from being carried out under the guise of coronavirus response, was introduced in the Senate by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and in the House by Representatives James McGovern (D-MA), Ann Wagner (R-MO) and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ).
This legislation, recognizing the United States’ duty to champion human rights globally, would authorize funding for “programs that support democratic institutions, civil society, human rights defenders, and protect freedom of the press and other internationally recognized human rights.” It would provide the State Department and Congress special oversight powers to address, assess, and report on violations of human rights during and in the aftermath of the coronavirus response and how countries are meeting or violating their human rights obligations.
Please take action now and ask your members of Congress to co-sponsor the Protecting Human Rights During Pandemic Act: H.R. 6986 in the House and S. 3819 in the Senate.
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