two hands protecting a paper family cut-outsThe European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) has released its latest Bulletin on fundamental rights which covers the period between 1st of September – 31st of October 2020. It highlights how some of the measures EU Member States have put in place to protect public health may affect fundamental rights, especially social rights.

The report focuses on three major aspects:

  • Measures by governments and public authorities that have an impact on specific freedoms, notably states of emergency (or equivalent measures) and measures affecting the freedom of assembly and the freedom of movement.
  • The impact of COVID-19 and measures to contain it on social rights in four key areas of life – health, education, work and housing.
  • How COVID-19 and efforts to limit its spread affect the social rights of particular groups in society, namely people in institutional settings, older persons, persons with disabilities, migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, and Roma and Travellers.

It highlights the impact of the COVID outbreak and the subsequent lockdowns across four areas:

  • Healthcare – rising numbers of COVID-19 infections limit access to healthcare and delay other treatments. The pandemic also continues to affect the wellbeing of healthcare staff, particularly their health and safety at work.
  • Education – as many schools went back to distance learning, children from disadvantaged backgrounds continue to face challenges following courses online. This exacerbates educational inequalities.
  • Work – the economic downturn and rising unemployment across the EU is especially affecting young people and women.
  • Housing – homeless people run a higher risk of contracting the virus. They often experience difficulties accessing healthcare. They also face being penalised for breaking curfews and visiting bans in shelters.

For more details, please read the full Bulletin.