The United Nations Commission on Human Rights has singled out South Africa as one of the countries that is creating a “toxic containment culture”.
Too strict containment measures have a far-reaching impact on the most vulnerable people in society, the commission warns.
Michelle Bachelet, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, warned South Africa and several other countries not to trample on people’s basic freedoms in the fight against the Covid 19 pandemic.
Bachelet warned in Geneva, Switzerland, emergency measures should not be abused by governments.
“Shooting, detaining, or mistreating someone for violating a restriction rule because they are desperately seeking food is an obviously unacceptable and illegal response.”
Georgette Gagnon, the commission’s chief operating officer, has accused South Africa and “dozens of other countries” that their approach to the containment is “clumsy and militarized” and creates a “toxic containment culture”.
Countries such as the Philippines, Jordan, Sri Lanka, Hungary, China and America are among the countries criticized by the commission.
About South Africa, Gagnon said: “We have received reports of the ‘disproportionate use of force by security officials’ in particularly poor and informal settlements.
“Rubber bullets, tear gas, water cannons and whips were used, among other things (to enforce the restriction regulations),” Gagon says.
About 17,000 people have been arrested since the national state of restriction began about a month ago.