Geneva, December 09, 2021.- Recent crises underline the urgent need to focus on the principles of non-discrimination, participation, empowerment and accountability, and particular attention should be paid to people in vulnerable situations, UN experts said in a statement marking Human Rights Day.
The independent experts appointed by the Human Rights Council said the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated exclusion and inequality, pushing most people further back and multiplying the risks that they will effectively be left behind.
“The pandemic has called for the questioning of the meaning of fairness in the international order. It also questioned the consequences on the growing wealth gap within and between countries, the access to health (including the urgent theme of asymmetries in the access to vaccines) and the overarching concerns of poverty,” the experts said.
“The challenges to equality, in our view, are directly connected to the erosion of democratic spaces, extremism, the active shrinking of civil society spaces, disinformation and impunity.
“Responses to global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic or climate change require that people’s participation and trust, the contributions of human rights defenders and civil society, and the emerging technologies must all be put at the service of the task of mitigating, adapting and transforming the devastating effects of these challenges.
“Governments often respond to crises by restricting fundamental freedoms, limiting transparency in decision making and actively shrinking civil society spaces – measures that only compound the crisis.
“As we commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we renew our belief on multilateralism, cooperation, and solidarity. We celebrate that this was the year in which the international community recognized that a healthy, clean environment is a human right. We renew our call to governments, communities, businesses, individuals and all stakeholders to uphold the universal, indivisible and interdependent human rights of all.”