Human rights activists have to resist governments using COVID-19 to discriminate further against the already persecuted LGBTIQ+ community in a continent where traditionalists view sexual minorities as un-African and hate speech from extremist religious and political leaders fuels homophobic violence.
Even in the 21st century, women are subject to extreme human rights abuses such as abduction for the purpose of marriage, which is still common in post-Soviet Eurasia. Better social education, political support and well-functioning legal systems are necessary to end this barbaric practice.
We need to develop a human rights-based approach to the design and conduct of science. As part of this, it is vital to include a sex/gender perspective in clinical trials and scientific studies, including in the development of new vaccines.
While developed nations are on track in immunising their citizens against COVID-19, Africa lags far behind. The continent needs more supplies but governments and scientific institutions must try harder to dispel widespread public mistrust causing high levels of vaccine hesitancy.
Children’s rights activists and international aid agencies in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region claim school closures, rising poverty rates and lack of legal barriers mean more underage refugee girls being forced to marry during COVID-19.
Lebanon’s COVID-19 national vaccination campaign, launched in February 2021, covers all residents, including refugees and migrants. Nevertheless, favouritism in the vaccine roll-out and limited access to information and resources remains a major hindrance for refugee and migrant groups.
Period poverty remains a major challenge in Lebanon, especially for refugees. With the country on the verge of economic collapse, the government is not prioritising gender equality but local and international organisations are working to help vulnerable women and girls.