Oral statement on the human rights situation in Africa at the 69th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

Index Number: AFR 01/5006/2021

Around this time last year, three pharmaceutical companies announced that their vaccine candidates were effective against Covid-19, allowing us to hope that the end of the pandemic could be in sight. However, one year on, the vastly unequal global distribution of Covid-19 vaccines serves as a stark reminder of how the pandemic has magnified existing global inequalities. While wealthy countries have fully vaccinated more than 66% of their populations, in Africa only 6.7% of people are fully vaccinated.

In this oral statement Amnesty International calls on the African Commission to (1) urge wealthy states who have stockpiled Covid-19 vaccines to immediately redistribute surplus vaccines and as soon as possible before their expiry dates to allow effective rollout to be planned; (2) urge pharmaceutical companies to deliver at least 50% of vaccines they produce between now and 31 December to low and lower-middle income countries; (3) urge wealthy states and pharmaceutical companies to urgently increase the global supply of Covid-19 vaccines through temporary suspension of intellectual property rights; (4) urge AU member states to ensure transparency on their health budgets and implementation of plans to distribute and administer Covid-19 vaccinations; and (5) in the absence of sufficient supplies of Covid-19 vaccines, to urge AU member states to take effective measures to continue to prioritise vaccination of groups most at risk from the virus.

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