As the Covid-19 pandemic unfolds, it has exposed inequalities and laid bare the inequities and injustices that threaten people’s well-being, safety, and lives. Its impact is experienced differently within and across communities, and as such State responses and relief efforts must consider specific needs of different groups. Clearly, to successfully address the various concerns posed by the pandemic, it is essential to ensure national responses that leave no one behind.
During an online side event on the sidelines of the United Nations High Level Political Forum on sustainable development that took place in July 2020, a conversation was started to shed light on the current adverse situation created by COVID-19 pandemic in the lives of communities discriminated against on the basis of work and descent. DWD communities, amongst others the Dalits in Asia and Haratins in Mauritania, have been historically exploited and marginalized and have been suffering intergenerational social and economic exclusion which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. They face persistent discrimination in terms of access to education, healthcare, land rights, employment and adequate housing.
Building on previous actions undertaken by TrustAfrica and its partners, the side event was co-organized by The Inclusivity Project (TIP), The Global Forum on Discrimination based on Work and Descent, The Asia Dalit rights Forum, The Africa Network Against Discrimination Based on Work & Descent and Contemporary Forms of Slavery and others. It provided an opportunity for the hundred participants to engage in a discussion on the direct and indirect impact of the pandemic on the DWD community’s livelihood at a global level. The inclusive nature of mitigation measures put in place by governments was also assessed and targeted suggestions and demands from the communities were conveyed to policymakers on the needs with regards to income support, tax and fiscal justice, international trade rules and various approaches to navigate transformative development during and in the aftermath of pandemic.