Antonio Guterres – UN Secretary General
The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency –but it is far more. It is an economic crisis. A social crisis. And a human crisis that is fast becoming a human rights crisis.
In February, I launched a Call to Action to put human dignity and the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the core of our work. As I said then, human rights cannot be an afterthought in times of crisis-and we now face the biggest international crisis in generations.
Today, I am releasing a report highlighting how human rights can and must guide COVID-19 response and recovery. The message is clear: People- and their rights-must be front and center. A human rights lens puts everyone in the picture and ensures that no one is left behind.
Human rights responses can help beat the pandemic, putting a focus on the imperative of healthcare for everyone. But they also serve as an essential warning system-highlighting who is suffering most, why, and what can be done about it.
We have seen how the virus doesn’t discriminate but its impacts do-exposing deep weaknesses in the delivery of public services and structural inequalities that impede access to them. We must make sure there are properly addressed in the response.
WE see the disproportionate effects on certain communities, the rise of hate speech, the targeting of vulnerable groups, and the risks of heavy-handed security responses undermining health response.
Against the background of rising ethno-nationalism, populism, authoritarianism and a push-back against human rights in some countries, the crisis can provide a pretext to adopt repressive measures for purposes unrelated to the pandemic. This is unacceptable. The best response is one that responds proportionally to immediate threats while protecting human rights and the rule of law.
More than ever, Governments must be transparent, responsive and accountable. Civil space and press freedom are critical. Civil society organizations and the private sector have essential roles to play. And in all we do, let’s never forget: The threat is the virus, not people.
We must ensure that any emergency measures-including states of emergency-are legal, proportionate, necessary and non-discriminatory, have a specific focus and duration, and take the least intrusive approach possible to protect public health. The best response is one that responds proportionally to immediate threats while protecting human rights and the rule of law.
Looking ahead, we need to build back better. The Sustainable Development Goals-which are underpinned by human rights-provide the framework for more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies. Strengthening economic social rights bolsters resilience for the long haul.
The recovery must also respect the right of future generations, enhancing climate actions aimed at carbon neutrality by 2050 and protecting biodiversity. We are all in this together. The virus threatens everyone, human rights uplifts everyone. By respecting human rights in this time of crisis, we will build more effective and inclusive solutions for the emergency of today and the recovery of tomorrow.
As the world begins planning for a post-pandemic recovery, the United Nations is calling on Governments to seize the opportunity to ‘build-back better by creating a more sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies.
Although the spread of the coronavirus has been relatively slow in South and South East Asia, the United Nations and its partners are working to save the densely populated and disaster-prone region from the impact of COVID-19, which would bring further human suffering to vulnerable people.
As the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havocon labour markets worldwide, the United Nations is calling for a global response to match the scale of the crisis, while countries roll out emergency stimulus packages to support livelihoods,
.Being UN Sec-Gen, Antonio Guterres Call for Action for Human Rights and COVID-19 Response and Recovery at the 43rd regular session of the Human Rights Council April 23, 2020
#Humanright-front and center of Covid-19