UNITED NATIONS — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for global solidarity to fight COVID-19 in a message on Human Rights Day, which falls on Dec. 10.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced two fundamental truths about human rights: human rights violations harm us all, and human rights are universal and protect us all, said Guterres. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on vulnerable groups, including front-line workers, people with disabilities, older people, women and girls, and minorities. It has thrived because poverty, inequality, discrimination, the destruction of natural environment and other human rights failures have created enormous fragilities in societies, he said.
An effective response to the pandemic must be based on solidarity and cooperation. Divisive approaches, authoritarianism and nationalism make no sense against a global threat, he said.
“People and their rights must be front and center of response and recovery. We need universal, rights-based frameworks like health coverage for all to beat this pandemic and protect us for the future,” said Guterres. “On Human Rights Day and every day, let’s resolve to act collectively, with human rights front and center, to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and build a better future for all.”