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Fundamental rights implications of COVID-19

Covid-19 coronavirus cells infection, Jezper ©, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has an impact on everyone. Governments take urgent measures to curb its spread to safeguard public health and provide medical care to those who need it. They are acting to defend the human rights of health and of life itself. Inevitably, these measures limit our human and fundamental rights to an extent rarely experienced in peacetime. It is important to ensure that such limitations are consistent with our legal safeguards and that their impact on particular groups is adequately taken account of.

This page highlights FRA activities to investigate the impact of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on fundamental rights in the EU.

At the bottom of the page you can also view all FRA tweets about the pandemic.


FRA is publishing regular reports about the fundamental rights impact of the Coronavirus over the coming months.

Sign up to receive alerts on FRA’s COVID-19 project and other work.



Two Traveller children carrying a container

News item - 29 September 2020

Pandemic worsens Roma and Travellers poverty and discrimination

The Coronavirus pandemic hit Roma and Travellers particularly hard, shows a new bulletin from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). Many Roma and Travellers lost their income, overcrowding and lack of sanitation increased their health risks, and distance learning was difficult without internet access. Discrimination and anti-Roma rhetoric have increased too, especially online. FRA calls on policymakers to urgently address these immediate challenges and put in place lasting structures to fight deep-rooted prejudice and discrimination.

Roma child plays in the rain

Video - 11 September 2020

Video blog Michael O'Flaherty: Covid-19 and Roma children

In his latest video blog, FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty speaks about the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Roma community. Roma children are in danger of losing almost a whole year of schooling. It’s like losing a generation. It’s robbing children of the one place where they can have hope and dream the same dreams of every other child.

Recent updates

News item - 30 July 2020

COVID-19 ‘new normal’ should also safeguard fundamental rights

Living with COVID-19 continues to constrain our daily lives, as a new Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) report shows. Moving forward, governments need to ensure existing fundamental rights challenges do not worsen and vulnerable members of society do not suffer disproportionately.

Event - 28 September 2020

Feeding Finnish recommendations on the pandemic’s human rights impact

On 28 September, FRA’s Director will give a keynote speech on the impact of COVID-19 on the realisation of human rights now and in the long run. He will speak during a meeting of the Human Rights Delegation of Finland, a body of the Finnish NHRI.

News item - 3 September 2020

National human rights institutions: guaranteeing fundamental rights compliance during COVID-19 and beyond

National human rights institutions (NHRIs) are crucial for the protection and promotion of fundamental rights across the EU but their full potential remains untapped, finds a new report from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). It suggests next steps to boost NHRIs’ impact and efficiency, such as providing adequate resources, strong powers and clear mandates in line with the United Nations Paris Principles.

News item - 27 July 2020

Migration: COVID-19 continues to cause hardship for migrants and deprives children of access to education

Restrictions for migrants, difficulties accessing asylum procedures or entering the EU territory and lack of information are some of the main concerns the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) identifies in its latest migration quarterly bulletin. Furthermore, the lack of online learning tools and stable internet connection deprives many asylum-seeking children of access to education.

News item - 24 July 2020

The role of data protection authorities in fighting COVID-19

FRA took part in a virtual expert seminar on 23 July on the role of data protection authorities in the context of COVID-19 exit strategies and contact tracing apps.

News item - 16 July 2020

Council of Europe-FRA-ENNHRI-EQUINET discussing social and economic rights in the context of COVID-19 crisis

On 9 July, the CoE-FRA-ENNHRI-EQUINET collaborative platform on social and economic rights discussed the societal challenges triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Video - 15 July 2020

Video blog Michael O'Flaherty: July bulletin on COVID-19

Michael O'Flaherty introduces the July edition of FRA's bulletin on the impact for fundamental rights of Covid-19. He talks about the important role that people play who are engaged with the promotion and the protection of human rights in these times. The July edition of the COVID-19 bulletin will be available from 30 July.

News item - 15 July 2020

Stronger together: EU Agencies join forces to respond to COVID-19

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, nine Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) agencies (CEPOL, EASO, EIGE, EMCDDA, eu-LISA, Eurojust, Europol, FRA and Frontex) have been supporting the Member States and EU institutions in meeting the unprecedented challenges resulting from the outbreak of the virus – each agency in its respective area of work, in both the short term and the long term.

News item - 13 July 2020

Stop labour exploitation and protect workers from COVID-19

In Europe, thousands of exploited workers are forced to work endless hours with no or little pay and without adequate safety equipment. Many of those exploited workers are migrants. Their situation has become even worse during the Coronavirus pandemic, as their working conditions do not allow physical distancing or regular handwashing. The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) calls on EU institutions and EU Member States to take all the necessary steps to stop the exploitation of migrant workers, ensure safe working conditions and fair pay.

Event - 9 July 2020

Heads of EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies discuss the impact of COVID-19 on their work

On 9 July, FRA’s Director will participate in a virtual meeting of the Heads of EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies.

Event - 3 July 2020

Racism and discrimination in the EU during COVID-19

The FRA Director will join EU Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli for a seminar on racism and discrimination in the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic.

News item - 30 June 2020

Respect older people’s rights when exiting the COVID-19 pandemic

Many older people in care homes fell victim to COVID-19. Many also faced months of isolation and restrictions often harsher than those enforced for other parts of the population. The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) looks at how the pandemic affected the rights of older people. It highlights the need for a rights-based approach as governments shape their exit strategies.

News item - 25 June 2020

Council of Europe discusses COVID-19 impact on child rights

On 26 June, FRA joined the first exchange of views of the Council of Europe’s Child Rights Steering Committee.

Event - 24 - 25 June 2020

Human rights in the new normal - people’s views and experiences in EU societies affected by the COVID-19 outbreak

On 24 and 25 June, FRA will host interactive online sessions to mark the launch of the report ‘What do fundamental rights mean for people in the EU?’. While the discussions draw on the survey results based on people’s views prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, the impact of COVID-19 on people’s human rights, as evidenced by the Agency’s COVID-19 bulletins, will also be addressed throughout the event.

Speech - 19 June 2020

Fighting discrimination on grounds of religion and ethnicity

FRA’s Director addressed a conference on 18 June 2020 on Fighting discrimination on grounds of religion and ethnicity: vulnerabilities of Muslim communities and the effects of COVID-19 crisis. the vulnerabilities of Muslim communities in the EU. The conference was a joint initiative by the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the European Commission and the European network of Equality bodies, Equinet. Tommaso Chiamparino, European Commission Coordinator on combating anti-Muslim hatred chaired the event.

News item - 19 June 2020

Mediterranean migrant search and rescue– latest update

Five people per day on average died crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe in 2019, estimates the International Organization for Migration. Ahead of World Refugee Day, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency points to ongoing difficulties facing civil society rescue efforts in the Mediterranean, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

News item - 18 June 2020

How concerned are Europeans about their personal data online?

As governments discuss using technology to stop the spread of COVID-19, many Europeans are unwilling to share data about themselves with public and private bodies. These findings emerged from a EU Agency’s Fundamental Rights survey, carried out before the pandemic.

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FRA tweets related to #COVID19