The U.N. high commissioner for human rights has issued a call to action for international Human Rights Day to build back in a more sustainable and just way after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.N. is hosting events in several countries to mark the anniversary of the 1948 proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including photo exhibitions, online concerts, and a celebration of COVID-19 frontline heroes.
The declaration lays out 30 basic rights and fundamental freedoms to be universally protected. First and foremost, all humans are “born free and equal in dignity and rights.” They should have freedom of thought, opinion, religious belief and peaceful assembly, and the right to education and a decent standard of living. The declaration also includes prohibitions on discrimination, slavery, and torture.
The Declaration of Human Rights is one of the most translated documents in the world it is available in more than 500 languages, including most recently Rohingya, Afar, and Crimean Tatar.
The UN high commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said the vaccine for hunger, poverty, inequality during this pandemic period and many other global ills are at its core, respect for human rights.
Michelle added that the pandemic has left us exposed, vulnerable, and weakened, yet, in its devastation, it has also provided clear insights on how we can turn disaster into an opportunity to reset our priorities and improve our prospects for a better future.
Millions of people worldwide have lost their jobs and livelihoods. Extreme poverty is on the rise, and the United Nations says 235 million people are in need of humanitarian support.
Instability has grown in some countries, while in others, authoritarian leaders have used lockdowns to limit freedoms and protests.
More than a billion children have missed out on in-person attendance at school this year, and the switch to online education has further highlighted the digital divide.
Now there are concerns that developing countries will be at the back of the queue behind wealthy nations to get access to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines.
There have been over 68 million confirmed cases globally of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and more than 1.5 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
“The medical vaccines that are being developed will hopefully eventually deliver us from COVID-19, albeit not for many months yet,” Bachelet said. “But they will not prevent or cure the socio-economic ravages that have resulted from the pandemic and aided its spread.”