New York city to form response unit to address anti-Asian harassment.
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New York city to form new response unit to address anti-Asian harassment amid Covid-19

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By PTI Updated: Apr 21, 2020 9:04 pm
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New York, Apr 21 (PTI): New York city, the financial capital of the world that has emerged as the new epicenter of the coronavirus in the US, is forming a new response team to address the growing incidents of harassment and discrimination against Asian-Americans in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 14,000 people have died in the city and over 200,000 people have contracted the deadly virus. The number of the coronavirus cases in the US has gone up to 787,370, while over 35,000 people have died from the disease.

The New York City Commission on Human Rights has announced the formation of a Covid-19 Response Team to handle reports of harassment and discrimination related to the outbreak.

Since February, the agency has recorded 248 reports of harassment and discrimination related to Covid-19, and over 40 per cent (105) of which identify incidents of anti-Asian harassment or discrimination.

By comparison, during this same time period in 2019, the Commission received just five reports of anti-Asian discrimination.

The response team will consist of staff from the Law Enforcement Bureau and the Community Relations Bureau working in coordination to quickly and efficiently track and respond to the sharp increase in reports of harassment and discrimination connected to the pandemic.

“In this time of unparalleled crisis, the NYC Commission on Human Rights is dedicated to responding to and investigating reports of bias, harassment and discrimination related to the Covid-19 outbreak in our city,” said Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn Malalis.

The Covid-19 Response Team is actively investigating discrimination in housing, public accommodation and employment on the basis of race, national origin, disability, and lawful source of income.

“All New Yorkers are facing extraordinary levels of stress right now; discrimination and harassment should not be among them. Even in the midst of a pandemic, human rights cannot be violated,” Malalis said.

The agency said New York City was home to one of the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the nation, the New York City Human Rights Law, which prohibits harassment and discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodation.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Commission said it has been working with community organisations to track and monitor reports of discrimination.

The Commission’s Community Relations Bureau (CRB) has also held bystander intervention training with the Center for Anti-Violence Education. The training provide techniques to safely de-escalate a bias incident in real time.

It also continues to produce and promote content to provide key information to impacted communities on their rights in several languages, including those spoken by Asian New Yorkers facing heightened harassment and discrimination due to Covid-19 stigma.

Globally, the number of the coronavirus cases have crossed 2.4 million and 170,368 people have died due to the disease, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

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By PTI Updated: Apr 21, 2020 9:04:13 pm