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Procedure : 2021/2645(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0238/2021

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 29/04/2021 - 9.1
CRE 29/04/2021 - 9.1

Votes :

PV 29/04/2021 - 19

Texts adopted :

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<TitreSuite>with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>

<Titre>on COVID 19 pandemic in Latin America</Titre>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Miguel Urbán Crespo</Depute>

<Commission>{The Left}on behalf of The Left Group</Commission>


NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.


European Parliament resolution on COVID 19 pandemic in Latin America


The European Parliament,

-  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of 2007, and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders of 1998,


-  having regard to International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, as adopted on 27 June 1989,


-  having regard to the statements of United Nations Secretary –General António Guterres and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet of March 2020 on lifting sanctions against countries to battle pandemic,


-  having regard to  the  Constitution of  the Federative Republic of Brazil, in particular article 196 which affirms health is a right to be enjoyed by all and a duty of the State,


-  having regard to the study Center for Studies and Research on Sanitary Law and Conectas Human Rights of January 2021 on Mapping the Impact of COVID -19 on Human Rights,


-  having regard to the Paris Agreement reached at the 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21),


-  having regard to Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure,


  1. Whereas the outbreak of the COVID-19 started in 2019 and since then, Latin America has registered more than 846 thousands deaths and 26,7 confirmed  million cases; whereas Brazil has recorded 381,475 deaths and more than 14 million cases since the pandemic began (more than 66 thousand cases per million inhabitants), Argentina has recorded 60,083 deaths and more than 2,769,552 cases (more than 61 thousand cases per million inhabitants), Chile has recorded 25,353 deaths and 1,141,403 cases (more than 59 thousand cases per million inhabitants), Colombia has recorded 70.000 deaths and 2,701,313 cases (more than 54 thousand cases per million inhabitants), Peru has recorded 57,954 deaths and 1,719,088 cases (more than 53 thousand cases per million inhabitants), and México has recorded 213,597 deaths and 2,315,811 cases (more than 18 thousand cases per million inhabitants);


  1. whereas some Latin American countries are experiencing a collapse of their health services as intensive care units in hospitals run out of capacity; whereas after a decade of neoliberal policies, public services such as access to universal and free healthcare had been suppressed or reduced in most of the countries; whereas the right to health must be enjoyed without discrimination on the grounds of race, age, ethnicity or any other status;


  1. whereas the  rollout of vaccines in the region has been slow and there have been allegations of corruption in access to vaccination and the lack of accessible, fair, inclusive and non-discriminatory vaccination plans; whereas intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines and medicines support unequal vaccine distribution and slow access to vaccines; whereas health and access to healthcare and vaccination is a universal human right and vaccines should therefore be considered a global public good and not a profitable market commodity;


  1. whereas Cuba is the only Latin American country that is developing its state-owned and free of private interests vaccine, and treatments against the COVID-19 to protect its population and to share the results with other countries;


  1. whereas the Americas began 2020 as the world’s most unequal region and this only worsened under the pandemic which has mainly affected the lives of groups in vulnerable situations; whereas the COVID-19 is driving dramatic increase in hunger; whereas more than 85 % of families living in rural areas across Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras face food insecurity; whereas is estimated that extreme poverty will affect 83.4 million people; whereas many workers in the informal sector have no access to social protection benefits;


  1. whereas according to Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) report, the pandemic has disproportionately affected women and has exacerbated pre-existing structural gender inequalities, in particular for racialized women, Indigenous women, LBTQI+ women,  women with disabilities, women from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, rural women, single mothers; whereas is estimated  that around 118 million Latin American women are living in poverty, 23 million more than in 2019; whereas the pandemic has  had a negative impact on employment and labour conditions for women in Latin America, many without access to social protection ; whereas  Latin America has the highest rates of gender-based violence in the world and those rates have increased during the pandemic, including gender-based violence against trans women and trans men; whereas some countries downplayed violence against women and girls and support programmes were cut; whereas several governments did not do enough to prioritize sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) as essential services during the pandemic;


  1. whereas people continued to flee violence, poverty and the effects of the climate change, and several governments detained refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants in conditions that left them at high risk of contracting COVID-19, while others forcibly returned people without proper consideration of their asylum claims;


  1. whereas the pandemic has raised concerns that sanctions are exacerbating the risk of a humanitarian crisis; whereas  in March 2020, United Nations Secretary-General  António Guterres called on world leaders to waive restrictions on food and essential health supplies that are affecting the world's most vulnerable countries; whereas economic and diplomatic sanctions against Venezuela and Cuba do obstruct the global fight against COVID, having  cruel impacts on the health;


  1. whereas some Latin American governments are taking advantage of the pandemic to adopt repressive measures that violate the rights of their populations; whereas rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly were denied or unduly restricted by the police or military, with unlawful use of force recorded in more than a dozen countries; whereas the pandemic has also covered summary detainments, and use of restrictions as a means of repression against specific populations; whereas authorities have mandatorily quarantined people in containment centres; whereas governments have deployed military forces to enforce lockdowns containment measures;


  1. whereas COVID-19 restrictions also impacted freedom of expression; whereas authorities have lashed out against those who have dared to expose and criticise inadequate government responses to the pandemic, or used COVID-19 related measures and other existing legislation to silence those who defend human rights; whereas Covid-19 pandemic is massively affecting human rights defenders in Latin America and killings, violence, arbitrary detentions and intimidations have increased against them as well as journalist and  environmental defenders;


  1. whereas systemic overcrowding, inadequate health services, and poor living and sanitary conditions posed grave concerns for the right to health of prisoners and juvenile detainees;


  1. whereas the ecological crisis and the health crisis are closely linked; whereas the World Health Organisation states that 70% of epidemic outbreaks worldwide are caused by the loss of biodiversity, largely due to deforestation; whereas various studies estimate that the approval of Trade Agreements such as the EU-Mercosur agreement will lead to an increase in deforestation in the countries of the region;


  1. whereas Indigenous Peoples were heavily affected by COVID-19 because of inadequate access to clean water, sanitation, health services, social benefits, and a lack of culturally appropriate mechanisms to protect their rights to health and livelihoods; whereas economic opportunism is generating systemic violence, deforestation in tropical forests and is eroding Indigenous land rights; whereas several countries declared mining an essential sector during the pandemic, exposing Indigenous Peoples to contagion; whereas Indigenous Peoples’ rights remained under threat, with many governments failing to ensure their free, prior and informed consent before greenlighting major extractive, agricultural and infrastructure projects that affect them;


  1. whereas although dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge worldwide, the outbreak in some Latin American countries was exacerbated due to some governments have downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic, have promoted treatments with no scientific basis, have deliberately  delayed vaccinations and shunned containment measures; whereas one of these governments is the Brazilian government;


  1. whereas Brazil is today the global epicentre of the pandemic and the country with the highest covid-19 mortality rate in Latin America; whereas while 3% of the world's population is Brazilian, Brazil accounts for 12% of deaths and 10% of the world's coronavirus infections; whereas the country is experiencing a historic collapse of its health service as intensive care units in hospitals run out of capacity and there are ongoing shortages of oxygen and sedatives to treat critically ill patients; whereas the unchecked outbreak of the virus and the spread of highly contagious P1 variant has raised  alarms in the region and worldwide;


  1. whereas the  Brazilian government’s negligent response to Covid-19 has plunged the country into a humanitarian catastrophe;  whereas according to a recent study, the federal authorities and Bolsonaro´s Government have taken normative actions against public health, deliberately spreading  the pandemic and obstructing local responses against the disease;  whereas these actions have left the population exposed to the virus, have spread false news to weak public adherence to health advice based on scientific evidence and has promoted political activism against public health measures; whereas the actions adopted by the government could constitute a gross violations of  the right to life and right to health of Brazilian populations as they have caused  humanitarian tragedy and preventable deaths; whereas the Brazilian Senate will launch a parliamentary commission of enquiry (CPI) to determine the responsibilities of President Jair Bolsonaro and his Health Ministry in the management of the pandemic;


  1. whereas in 2020, President’s  Bolsonaro refused proposals to receive vaccines and sabotaged his own government's Covid-19 program by attacking out vaccines; whereas the Brazil’s vaccination campaign has been slow; whereas in April 2021 the low house of Congress passed a bill that allows private corporate purchases and distribution of vaccines, deprioritizing public immunization plan and allowing criteria for vaccination to be determined by monetary power;


  1. whereas the disease has deepened structural and persistent inequalities and has mainly affected the lives of groups in vulnerable situations such as the impoverished racialized population, traditional communities, indigenous peoples, women, the LGBTIQ+ community and favela and periphery residents; whereas the hunger index in Brazil has risen to its highest point since 2004 and research estimate that 12.8% of Brazil’s population are now living below the poverty line as well as more than 116 million people are facing food insecurity; whereas economic relief programmes for low-income individuals have been insufficient and flawed;


  1. whereas the pandemic has affected women disproportionately and has exacerbated pre-existing structural gender inequalities; whereas social distancing measures have significantly increased domestic violence and femicide rates; whereas local authorities have suspended sexual and reproductive services and the pandemic has  curtailed access to abortion as many clinics shuttered; whereas the pandemic has pushed  more than 6.5 million Brazilian women out of employment,  many without access to social protection being at higher risk of poverty;


  1. whereas in favelas and other marginalized neighbourhoods, police violence escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic; whereas between January and June 2020, at least 3,181 people – 79% of them Black – were killed by the police across the country;


  1. whereas the pandemic has worsened the long-standing injustice that Indigenous people face in Brazil; whereas the  Covid-19 mortality rate for Indigenous people is at least 16% higher than the Brazilian average; whereas Brazil’s President,  Bolsonaro has used the pandemic to cover up land grabbing  in protected forests and indigenous reserves, forcing  Indigenous communities to move away from their Amazon rainforest homelands into overcrowded settlements which expose Indigenous communities to an increased risk of Covid-19 transmission; whereas intense illegal mining activities and the associated deforestation  have threatened the health and food security of Indigenous people;


  1. whereas the Brazilian government has used the pandemic as cover to weaken environmental protection laws; whereas studies raise alarm about deforestation in Brazil; whereas deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon surged to a 12-year high last year;  whereas the President’s Bolsonaro has tried to approve legislation that would allow landing grabbing and mining; whereas Indigenous communities and civil society has been excluded from social and environmental decisions; whereas environmental human rights defenders face increased violence, threats and attacks, including by governmental officials; whereas Brazil is one of the countries where most environmental defenders are killed and Latin America is the deadliest region in the world for environmental defenders; 



  1. Expresses its deepest sorrow at the loss of lives and the human tragedy that the pandemic has brought to Latin American citizens and their families and extends its condolences to all those who have lost loved ones; expresses it concern  about the devastating impacts of the crisis, on the well-being of  Latin American populations, notably the most vulnerable groups and people in vulnerable situations;
  2. Recognizes the crucial role played by health care and essential workers in providing information and addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic and its impacts;
  3. Reminds that universal access to healthcare, which is essential to contain the spread of this and any future outbreaks, is a human right which can only be guaranteed through a system which is completely public and free; calls therefore on states to increase public investment and public budgets for public health care; urges countries to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage as an essential priority for international development;
  4. Urges the Brazilian authorities to implement a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, observing the recommendations of international bodies such as the WHO, and adopting science-based measures; Calls for international investigation of President’s  Bolsonaro management of the  pandemic and how his actions could have  worsened the situation, causing preventable deaths, systematic violations of human rights as well as  inflicting great suffering and serious injury to the health and lives of Brazilian people;
  5. Praises the staff of Cuba’s Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade´s for their humanitarian work during the pandemic and expresses its support for the international campaign for them receiving the Peace Nobel Prize as they have shown genuine global solidarity during this coronavirus crisis;
  6. Reminds that no one will be safe from this virus until everyone is vaccinated; calls for universal, free and unrestricted access to vaccination and treatments; highlights that the example of the Cuban vaccine shows that it is possible to produce public treatments and vaccines against Covid-19 not submitted  to private interests of Big Pharma; asks therefore the EU and its Member States to place conditions on public funding to ensure pharmaceutical companies share their innovations, technology and data with other manufacturers;
  7. Urges the EU and its Member States to withdraw all the obstacles to make the vaccines a public good, including intellectual properties; asks to support the C-TAP (COVID-19 Technology Access Pool) and promote open and non-exclusive licenses that include technology transfer to ensure that the product is available, accessible, and affordable to the maximum number of people;
  8. Asks the governments to immediately make public the whole contracts entered with pharmaceutical companies and to ensure that the compliance with contracts entered with pharmaceutical companies is subject to independent audit;
  9. Demands the governments to implement policies to ensure availability, access, affordability, acceptability, and quality of COVID19 vaccines for all people and to devise COVID-19 national vaccination plans to be accessible, fair, inclusive and non-discriminatory, in line with human rights laws and standards; asks to prohibit direct private purchases of vaccines by law;
  10. Demands the introduction of a tax on wealth (wealth and income of the richest 1%) to finance the fight against the pandemic and to ensure a socially just and environmentally sustainable solution;
  11. Urges the governments to sustain the highest levels of respect for human rights in the application of containment measures in response to the expansion of COVID 19; asks to ensure that the measures taken to respond to the health emergency are proportional, necessary, non-discriminatory; Condemns the repressive measures taken during pandemic, gross human rights violations and abuses against populations including the excessive use of force by state and/or private security forces;
  12. Reminds the important work of human rights defenders including journalist, and support their initiatives and work; urges the authorities to take  appropriate, effective and timely measures to prevent, investigate and punish attacks, threats or intimidation against human rights defenders including environmental defenders and journalists;
  13. Reminds that the UNHCHR, Michelle Bachelet, called on governments to release every person detained without sufficient legal basis, including human rights defenders, in order to protect their health and safety; calls in these sense for the release of all human rights defenders arbitrarily arrested in Latin America in particular: Bernardo Caal (Guatemala), Guapinol defenders (Honduras), Cristóbal Sántiz Jiménez (Mexico), José Vargas Sobrinho (Brazil), and Teófilo Acuña (Colombia);
  14. Highlights that authorities should guarantee the right to health of people held in custody and  to ensure that preventive care, goods and services are available to everybody;
  15. Condemns the destruction of tropical forest areas in Latin America and in particular in Brazil and reminds that it has consequences for health; urges Latin American authorities in particular Brazilian ones, to strengthen environmental protection laws and put an immediate end to the deliberate systematic destruction of ecosystems; reiterates that negotiations on the environment should actively involve Indigenous communities and civil society organizations;
  16. Urges Latin America governments in particular Brazilian government, to protect Indigenous people and their territories, and ensure  Indigenous peoples have equal access to health care and protective measures in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  17. Urges the EU to stop unbalanced and unfair trade agreements with third countries, and to build a new cooperation based on mutual development for the benefit of people instead of the interests of the corporate companies; demands that the democratic clauses of the Association Agreements be triggered in light of the gross Human Rights violations committed in several countries such as: Colombia, Honduras, and Chile;
  18. Stresses that the signature of the EU-Mercosur deal would contribute to increase deforestation and gross human rights violations in particular crimes against forest defenders and indigenous communities; calls therefore to reopen the negotiation of the agreement in order to completely reorient it to trade relations that would break the post-colonial pattern and the disastrous ecological footprint of the EU massively exporting pesticides (including pesticides forbidden in the EU) and cars, and Mercosur countries massively exporting crops and beef;
  19. Condemns the economic, social and political interference implemented in third countries through the Structural Adjustment Plans of the World Bank and the IMF; Calls on the IMF and  World Bank to cancel the external debt of Latin American countries as such actions are both fair and necessary given the extraordinary challenge posed to the region by the pandemic crisis; reiterates that mass debt cancellation would allow Latin American countries to strengthen their public health system and to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic;
  20. Urges Latin American countries to address structural gender inequalities, prevent and eliminate gender based violence faced by women and girls; calls to effectively guarantee safe and timely access to SRHR and the necessary healthcare services for all women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially access to contraception, including emergency contraception, and to abortion care; urges Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica and Nicaragua to decriminalize abortion and demands other countries to repeal restrictive abortion laws;  calls on governments to integrate a gender perspective with a strong intersectional focus in national recovery plans; calls to take into account that the COVID-19 crisis disproportionately affects women in the socio-economic sphere, including their income and employment rate, resulting  in even more profound inequalities;
  21. Urges the international community to lift sanctions and embargoes against Venezuela and Cuba, to allow their healthcare systems to fight the disease and limit global spread as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses; reiterates that bringing the virus under control can only be achieved through joint efforts by all States and international organisations in a spirit of multilateralism, cooperation and solidarity;
  22. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the European Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Governments and Parliaments of the Member States, the Presidents, Governments and Parliaments of Latin American countries, and the UN Human Rights Council.



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