The EU thanks the UN High Commissioner for presenting her oral update on the central role of the State in responding to pandemics and other health emergencies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted – and still impacts – the enjoyment of human rights worldwide, revealing once more how interconnected our societies are. The pandemic affected economic, social and cultural rights, but also civil and political rights, including the space for civil society and individuals to access fundamental freedoms. It has had a disproportionate effect on women and girls, persons with disabilities and those living in vulnerable situations. Indeed, the pandemic demonstrated how all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent, interrelated and mutually reinforcing.
Sustainable and inclusive development is the only road to building back better. Without fundamental human rights principles such as non-discrimination, equality, participation, accountability, and the rule of law, there can be no sustainable development. Good governance, inclusion, an open civic space and transparency are key to its achievement, as are inclusive political processes, which lead to more accountable governments and institutions. In this regard, we reiterate that all relevant government action must be time-bound and respect the principles of necessity, proportionality and non-discrimination, in accordance with international human rights law.
Furthermore, including multilateral institutions, civil society, the private sector and all relevant stakeholders in the response remains essential.
The EU is leading the multilateral response to make sure no one is left behind. Global Health, security and a sustainable global recovery depend on it. Along with its Member States, the EU launched a “Team Europe” package to support global roll-out of safe vaccines and to support partner countries recover from the pandemic in a resilient and sustainable way, with a view of addressing structural inequalities and achieving gender equality. EU leadership is also attested through its active part in strengthening the multilateral health architecture, in particular in the negotiation to strengthen health emergency preparedness and response, including through of a new ambitious, universal and legally binding international pandemic agreement.
Madame High Commissioner,
Can you elaborate more on what States and the international community can do to ensure that a human rights-based approach and innovative collaboration with non-state actors, in particular grassroots, youth and women’s rights groups, remains central in the global preparedness and response to pandemics?
What kind of approach to you intend to have as High commissioner in the negotiation of the “Pandemic treaty”, in order to ensure that this instrument will be truly intersectoral, going beyond the sole health issues and integrating the Human rights dimension of prevention, preparedness and response to pandemics?
I thank you.