Facts and figures: Human rights in the Americas in 2020-21
The Americas has been the region worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 55 million confirmed cases and 1.3 million confirmed deaths as of 29 March 2021. (WHO)
The United States had more than 29 million confirmed cases and 543,000 deaths from COVID-19 as of 29 March 2021, more than any other country on earth. Brazil (310,000 confirmed deaths) and Mexico (201,000) had the second and third highest death tolls on earth. (WHO)
The USA had registered 1,666 confirmed deaths per million inhabitants from COVID-19 as of 29 March 2021, the highest rate in the Americas, followed by Peru (1,583), Mexico (1,580), Brazil (1,479), Panama (1,436), Colombia (1,250) and Argentina (1,233). (Statista)
As of 5 March 2021, at least 10,558 health workers across the Americas had died from COVID-19. (Amnesty International)
There were 209 million people (33.7% of the population) living in poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean by the end of 2020, an increase of 22 million on the previous year. Of these, 78 million (12.5% of the population) were living in extreme poverty, 8 million more than in 2019. (ECLAC)
Latin America has higher levels of income inequality than any other region of the world (UN)
According to Insight Crime, Jamaica was the most violent country in Latin America and the Caribbean last year (with a homicide rate of 46.5 per 100,000 inhabitants), followed by Venezuela (45.6) and Honduras (37.6).
Mexico was the world’s deadliest country for journalists with 9 killings in 2020, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Honduras was the second most lethal country in the Americas, with 4 reporters killed there.
Mexico recorded 3,758 killings of women in 2020, of which 967 were investigated as femicides. (SESNSP)
There are officially more than 84,000 missing or disappeared people across Mexico. (CNB)
At least 287 trans and gender-diverse people were killed in the Americas, with Brazil recording the most deaths in a single country. (Amnesty International)
With 264 killings, Latin America and the Caribbean was the world’s deadliest region for human rights defenders last year and accounted for 79% of the global total of 331 killings. Colombia remained the world’s most lethal country for human rights defenders, with 177 killings. (Front Line Defenders)
In November Mexico became the 11th country in Latin America and the Caribbean to ratify the Escazú Agreement, an unprecedented regional treaty on access to information, public participation and justice in environmental matters and the protection of environmental defenders, meaning it will come into effect on 22 April 2021.
Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research registered an increase of 9.5% in the destruction of forests between August 2019 and July 2020, compared to the same period a year earlier. More than 11,000 km² of forest were devastated in that period.
Transparency International ranked as Canada the least corrupt country in the Americas (11th worldwide) in its 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index, followed by Uruguay (21st) the United States and Chile (joint 25th). Venezuela (176th) was ranked the most corrupt in the region, followed by Haiti (170th).
More than 5.5 million Venezuelans have left the country, mostly since 2015, in what is the world’s second largest refugee crisis after Syria. (UNHCR)
US authorities deported over half a million migrants and asylum-seekers detained at the US-Mexico border from March 2020 through February 2021, including over 13,000 unaccompanied children as of November 2020.
Despite a serious outbreak of COVID-19 in civil immigration detention facilities, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement refused to release detainees, over 8,000 of whom contracted the virus. (Amnesty International)
Mexican authorities detained 87,260 migrants last year, including more than 11,000 children, and deported 53,891 people. (Amnesty International)
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