During the coronavirus pandemic and related lockdown in India, HLRN is assisting homeless persons and those living without adequate housing, including stranded migrant workers, in various ways. This includes facilitating the provision of shelter, food, and other essential commodities. With the enforcement of a nationwide lockdown and sealing of containment zones to prevent the spread of the virus, homeless people and those living in 'informal settlements', especially those dependent on daily wages, have lost their livelihoods. As a result, hunger poses a major challenge to these vulnerable communities. The lack of access to water, sanitation, soap, sanitizer, and masks also increases their vulnerability to the spread of the virus. Moreover, homeless persons living on the streets and migrant workers have been forced to move to emergency shelters which may not necessarily be adequate and often against their will.
Through its team and extensive network, HLRN is closely monitoring the situation of marginalized communities, on a daily basis, including their access to food, shelter, healthcare, water, sanitation, soaps, sanitizers, and masks as well as other issues affecting them. Particularly in Delhi, HLRN is documenting living conditions in permanent and emergency shelters as well as informal settlements. We are facilitating the provision of food and other essential commodities by coordinating with communities in need, shelter management agencies, government helplines, political representatives, and other local organizations. Additionally, in collaboration with other voluntary organizations, HLRN is providing food and ration to persons in need, where possible. We are also facilitating the provision of adequate shelter to homeless person living on the streets and to migrant workers stranded in the cities. Demands of affected communities are being regularly conveyed to the government and through our advocacy, we have been able to improve access to basic services, shelter, food, and other essential items for a large number of people living in destitution.
In collaboration with local organizations, HLRN has helped provide ration/cooked food to over 100,000 people since the beginning of the national lockdown on 25 March 2020. Since May 2020, we have been running a community kitchen to provide tea and free cooked meals to homeless persons in Mori Gate, Delhi. In partnership with the Information and Resource Centre for Deprived Urban Communities, we are also assisting homeless people and communities living in remote resettlement sites in Chennai and Madurai with ration/food and other essential items.
In all our work and interventions, HLRN is advocating for a strong human rights approach to all COVID-19 related response and recovery measures.
Special Page on COVID-19 and Human Rights
COVID-19 and Special Procedures
UN Secretary General's Report: COVID-19 and Human Rights
UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing | COVID-19 Guidance Notes:
UN Guidance Note: COVID-19 and Indigenous Peoples' Rights
UN Guidance Note: COVID-19 and the Human Rights of Migrants
UN Guidance Note: COVID-19 and Women's Human Rights
UN Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Children