‘A crime against humanity – the tragedy of vaccine apartheid’- Salim Abdool Karim delivers the 2021 Kader Asmal lecture

14 September 2021

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) hosted the Kader Asmal lecture on Wednesday, 14th September to mark the 10th anniversary year of the passing of the eminent human rights activist and academic, Professor Kader Asmal described as ‘a relentless advocate for human rights.  

Professor Salim Abdool Karim, CAPRISA’s Director delivered the lecture, titled: COVID-19 and Human Rights: A tiny virus magnifies society’s inequalities, to an audience which included  Ireland’s Ambassador to South Africa, H.E. Gilsenan Fionnuala.

In his address he referred to one of the biggest tragedies of the Covid-19 pandemic.  “And that's the tragedy of vaccine Apartheid,” he said, “which for me is nothing short of a crime against humanity.” He questioned the gross inequities that underpin vaccine access to poorer nations.  “In the midst of billions of doses of vaccines being made available across the world, how is it that Africa has been pushed to the back of the queue?”  Abdool Karim said that Africa does not have access to the doses of vaccines it needs, “even in the midst of five and a half billion people across the world receiving at least one dose.”

What would Kader Asmal have said when he looked at all of this?  he asked.  “I think he would have said and I'm quoting, Kader Asmal, ‘human dignity, individually and collectively, cannot be determined by the pricing mechanisms of the market’.” 

“We have to find a different way, we have to find a new world order for the distribution of pandemic vaccines in the future, “said Abdool Karim.

Watch the lecture here: https://youtu.be/ThYS-Gi2T5s