Despite significant progress since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 73 years ago, the COVID pandemic has “fueled a frightening increase in inequality”, and laid bare “many of our failures to consolidate the progress made, “said the UN. Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet, in a message marking Human Rights Day.
Ms. Bachelet and the UN Secretary General AntÃ³nio Guterres took the opportunity to take stock of the progress made, the lessons learned and to propose a new Agenda for Peace that presents a multidimensional vision of global security.
âThis is an agenda for action – and a rights agenda,â Bachelet said.
âOur Common Agendaâ, a framework defined by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in September 2021, is a new social contract firmly anchored in human rights, calling for renewed solidarity across the world.
The Agenda proposes to deepen collective action by addressing the root causes of insecurity, by increasing investments in resilience and early warning systems, by developing multilateral partnerships and more sustained efforts in the peacebuilding and combating the effects of climate change.
Ms. Bachelet acknowledged that since the signing of the UDHR, âthe world as a whole has become richer and people have lived longer. More children went to school and more women were able to gain more autonomy. More people in more countries have had more opportunities to break the chains of poverty, class, caste and gender. “
Despite this progress, however, she noted that over the past two decades, a succession of global shocks and the onset of the pandemic in 2020 have undermined these developments.
“New threats” to human rights: Guterres
With the world “at a crossroads,” new threats have emerged to basic human rights, such as the pandemic, the overbreadth of digital technology and the climate crisis, UN chief Guterres said in his message for Human Rights Day celebrated on Friday.
âThe public space is shrinking. Poverty and hunger are on the rise for the first time in decades. Millions of children are deprived of their right to education. Inequalities are growing – but we can choose another path, âhe said.
Mr. Guterres noted that the recovery from the pandemic “must be an opportunity to extend human rights and freedoms, and to restore confidence”.
Confidence must be restored in the justice and fairness of laws and institutions everywhere, he added, and dignity must be restored, along with the faith that “people can be heard fairly and their grievances resolved. peaceful manner â.
âThe United Nations stands up for the rights of every member of our human family,â he continued, promising that âtoday and every day, we will continue to work for justice, equality, dignity and human rights. human rights for all â.
Equality and the common good
Ms. Bachelet ended her statement by saying that equality was “at the heart of human rights”.
âEquality is a matter of empathy and solidarity and understanding that as a common humanity our only way forward is to work together for the common good. “
She said this was “well understood” during the period of global reconstruction after WWII.
“However, our failure to rebuild better after the financial crisis of a decade ago, coupled with the social and economic turmoil caused by COVID-19[female[feminine and the rapidly accelerating impacts of climate change, suggests that we have forgotten the clear and proven remedies rooted in human rights and the importance of tackling inequalities, âshe said.
If progress is to be sustained, this fundamental lesson must be learned once again, “not just for those who suffer from the glaring inequalities that plague our planet, but for the good of all of us”.
She invited everyone to join the new collective reconstruction project, with equality as a driving force, “so that we can emerge better, fairer and greener from this crisis, and rebuild more resilient and sustainable societies”.