UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urged the global community on Thursday to show solidarity with people of ethnic Asian origin, who are being subjected to discrimination amid an outbreak of a novel coronavirus that started in China.
"The coronavirus epidemic has set off a disturbing wave of prejudice against people of Chinese and East Asian ethnicity, and I call on member states to do their utmost to combat this and other forms of discrimination," she told a session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
"All public health measures should be carried out without discrimination of any kind," she stressed.
Addressing the UN Human Rights Council, Bachelet hailed medical teams around the world working to rein in the COVID-19 outbreak that has killed more than 2,700 people and infected more than 80,000 worldwide. But she added that respect for human rights is needed to guide the response.
She also voiced concern about the widespread use of quarantine to halt the spread of the virus, saying the quarantine measures which restrict the right to freedom of movement should be "proportionate to the risk, time-bound and safe."
Governments are ramping up measures to battle a looming global pandemic of the coronavirus as the number of infections outside China for the first time surpassed those appearing inside the country.