11 July 2022

Video blog by Michael O'Flaherty: Respecting rights and managing Covid-19

In this vlog, FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty, points to the need to recommit to human rights, as evidenced by the wide-ranging impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Here he refers to vaccine inequalities and the impact on marginalised communities, disadvantaged children and frontline workers. As he explains in this vlog, human rights can help fix and strengthen society so we are ready for the next pandemic.


It has been something like two and a half years since we first had the onslaught of Covid-19 here in Europe. And frankly, I think at this stage everybody is just fed up thinking about it, fed up talking about it…they want to move on.

That is understandable – but let’s be really careful. This is exactly the moment when we have to concentrate on what is still needed from the point of view of the pandemic.


Think of the huge proportion of the world that has yet to receive a single vaccine, while here in Europe, many of us are already getting ready for our fourth.

That is not fair. Think of all those children who lost great big chunks of their education. The kids who were sent home and could not actually do anything, because there wasn't internet or there just wasn't the atmosphere in the house where they could study.

There has been a big gap in the developmental years of those children.

We have to address that with urgency and with care.

Just think of all those Roma communities who already had next to nothing and lost even that, including access to the most basic services in the time of Covid.

Think of frontline workers. We valued them, we clapped on the streets for them, and is it not a risk that they have been shoved right back to the edges of our societies now?

So what we need is a recommitment to human rights, to the human rights way of fixing and strengthening our societies.

That is the only way, when the next pandemic comes, we’ll be more ready.