Holyrood launches inquiry into equality and human rights impact of COVID-19



The detrimental impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown measures imposed on people across Scotland is to be investigated by MSPs. 

The Scottish Parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee is gathering views to inform an inquiry into the effects of the virus and the response to it by the Scottish Government and other public bodies.

Its inquiry will seek to identify which groups and individuals are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and the response to the pandemic.

Views on what the Scottish Government and other regulatory or oversight bodies need to do to ensure that actions taken minimise any negative effects on equality and human rights are sought to inform the committee’s scrutiny. 

Committee convener, Ruth Maguire MSP, said: “Everybody’s lives have changed immeasurably as a result of this pandemic. We are acutely aware, however, that some groups are experiencing disproportionately negative impacts of the virus and some of the responses to it.

“For example, we have heard reports that individuals from particular ethnic minorities are being hospitalised at higher rates than the general population, while women and young people are among those most exposed to increased risk as they are disproportionately likely to be key workers.

“Meanwhile, women, children, older and disabled people are among the most impacted by the lockdown restrictions, due to the lack of support available.

“The purpose of this inquiry is to ensure that hard-fought rights are uppermost in decision makers’ minds when responding to this crisis. Our call is open-ended to enable us to monitor the ongoing equalities and human rights impacts, so that steps can be taken to protect those most in need.”

Acknowledging that this is “a fast-moving situation”, the committee said it is keen to hear what issues need to be addressed urgently and those that will need to be monitored and reviewed in the medium to longer-term.

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