Journalists for Human Rights and Media Monitoring Africa discuss impact of COVID-19

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Journalists for Human Rights and Media Monitoring Africa have held a civil society round-table discussion on COVID-19 and its impact on human rights.

Some of the issues discussed at the event include how the lockdown impacted women and children, particularly the rights of women, girls, and vulnerable groups.

COVID-19 has brought about a lot of changes, including the hard lockdown which affected many people. Some lost their jobs making it difficult to make ends meet.

Among them were women who were also breadwinners. The Socio-Economic Rights Institute’s Edward Molopi says although some companies were able to allow their employees to work at home during the lockdown, this was not always possible and that created problems.

“Looking at a domestic worker, she can’t work from home. She needs to be at the employer’s place to go and work. If you look at informal traders, these are people who because of the lockdown their incomes were affected.”

South Africa saw an increase in the unemployment rate during the pandemic:

Another issue discussed at the round-table is how South Africa was copying almost everything that western countries were doing to deal with the pandemic.

“There were so many unknowns and unfortunately, media, government, and industries had to come together to tackle this pandemic, fell into the traditional roles of looking to the north for solutions,” says Media Monitoring Africa’s Thandi Smith.

During the height of the pandemic, South African researchers were able to identify the Delta variant.

Doctors Without Borders’s Candice Sehuma says it is important to also look at the African continent for solutions.

“Africa would often be looked at as if we do not have the resources and intelligence to create vaccines. Even when we produce, is it of sufficient quality? But what we have been doing and advocating is that it’s important to look in this African context, because there is so much talent.”