South Africa’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic exposed existing gaps in the promotion and protection of human rights in the country. The country’s Covid-19 aid programs overlooked people with disabilities, refugees, asylum seekers, and many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Xenophobic violence remains rampant in the country despite the implementation of the National Action Plan to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in 2019. Law enforcement officials often responded with indifference or provided inadequate remedies to xenophobic attacks. Refugees and asylum seekers faced barriers to protection, including a newly enacted law restricting access to asylum and a huge government backlog in processing claims and appeals. South Africa is also facing a crisis of gender-based violence, with as much as 51 percent of South African women experiencing violence at the hands of someone with whom they were in an intimate relationship.

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