The Covid pandemic has increased inequality and discrimination in York, a new report says.
The report calls on the City of York Council to make tackling poverty and inequality its priority, ensuring that there is a strategy across all relevant agencies in order to recover after the pandemic.
It says the digital divide is a significant cause of increased inequalities, and needs to be tackled .
The research is by the Centre for Applied Human Rights (CAHR) at the University of York, and the York Human Rights City Network.
The report says that it is vital that York’s marginalised residents and those in vulnerable situations “are not forced to carry the burdens of 2020 for years to come”.
Professor Paul Gready from the Centre for Applied Human Rights said: “Shadow pandemics of poverty, inequality, isolation and mental health problems are likely to be the result of the Covid-19 pandemic in York.
“But there was also much that was positive in 2020. The pandemic illustrated the importance of local government, local resilience and local creativity.
“There were good examples of York’s vibrant civil society working in collaboration with the council to generate a greater sense of social cohesion at a time of crisis.”
The report says that both the council and local organisations found the York Human Rights City Network’s research and resources helpful to them in responding to the crisis.
It recommends more human rights training, including for council staff, to help build the city back with respect for “the dignity of residents”.
Cllr Darryl Smalley, City of York Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities, said: “As the UK’s first Human Rights City, we are committed to building on York’s rich history of philanthropy and societal innovation.
“This year has been incredibly challenging in ways that none of us could have foreseen 12 months ago, and the pandemic has had a significant effect on communities across the city, including poverty, inequality, mental health concerns and isolation.
“I welcome the findings of this annual report, which will help us ensure that human rights are at the heart of our policies as we work with partners to support residents and communities through the Covid recovery.”