Both Colombia and Palestine have been in complete isolation for several weeks due to the outbreak of the corona virus. Now, initial reports from human rights activists show a worrying picture of the impact of the corona crisis on the human rights situation in the two countries:
In Colombia, the curfews mean an increased risk for human rights activists. Since the quarantine regulations require them to be at home at all times, they become easy targets for armed groups that systematically pursue human rights activists. On 19 March, 3 prominent human rights activists were murdered in Colombia and while the media attention was focused on the spread of the COVID-19 virus, these murders went virtually unnoticed. It is clear that the health emergency caused by the pandemic not only makes the murder of human rights activists invisible, but also makes attacks on them easier.
Fortunately, the Palestinian Authority was able to greatly limit the spread of the corona virus by quickly declaring a state of emergency and thus taking extensive isolation measures. At the same time, however, there is a threat of a health crisis in Israeli prisons, in which around 5,000 Palestinians are currently imprisoned. There are already reports of several infected prisoners, but no hygiene or health measures have been taken to protect the prisoners.
Since the declaration of the state of emergency, hundreds of Palestinian workers have returned from Israel to their homes in Gaza. Many of them may have contracted the virus in Israel. However, due to a lack of test kits, less than 100 people have been tested for the virus so far. Gaza's health system was already on the verge of collapse before the outbreak of the corona virus, due to Israel's and Egypt's 13-year closure of Gaza. An outbreak of the corona virus would be fatal for the population of the Gaza Strip.
On 26 March, the Israeli civil administration confiscated a Palestinian field hospital in the northern Jordan Valley for lack of a building permit. The field hospital consisted of several tents which were built for the treatment and accommodation of infected persons.
Unfortunately, the hope that this pandemic would lead to increased cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian authorities has not been confirmed. The lack of cooperation between the two parties only unnecessarily exacerbates the health crisis and constitutes a violation of the human right, namely: "The right to benefit from the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health".