The coronavirus pandemic and fundamental rights: A year in review

This focus looks at COVID-19’s impact on fundamental rights. It underscores that a human rights-based approach to tackling the pandemic requires balanced measures that are based on law, necessary, temporary and proportional. It also requires addressing the pandemic’s socio-economic impact, protecting the vulnerable and fighting racism.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, authorities across the European Union adopted myriad restrictive measures to protect people’s lives and health. These interfered with a wide range of fundamental rights, such as to movement and assembly; to private and family life, including personal data protection; and to education, work and social security.

The pandemic and the reactions it triggered exacerbated existing challenges and inequalities in all areas of life, especially affecting vulnerable groups. It also sparked an increase in racist incidents.