Desierto stresses protection of human rights in the era of COVID-19

Author: Kevin Fye

Diane Desierto

Faculty Affiliate Diane Desierto has published a challenging set of priorities for the human rights community, designed to draw attention to the threats presented by response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlighting the vulnerabilities to human rights that result from states' responses, Desierto insists that only a deeply internalized, fully operationalized dedication to protecting the rights of the most vulnerable can ensure that fundamental human rights are not swept away as states rebuild. Her essay was published on the Blog of the European Journal of International Law.

Ultimately, Desierto Challenges the human rights community to "rekindle human empathy to reanimate human rights" by focusing on the actual, lived experience of affected individuals and communities. "If there is one thing humility did teach me from working with colleagues in times of upheavals from natural disasters," she says, "it is that it is ultimately our ability to empathize with fellow human beings inside and outside our communities that spurs concrete action."