GENEVA (29 May 2020) -- Underscoring the wide-ranging human rights dimensions to the global COVID-19 crisis, the Human Rights Council today adopted a decision appealing to States to ensure human rights were at the front and centre of national responses to the pandemic and not side-lined while contending with the multiple ill effects of the virus on their societies.
“Today’s decision is a profound reminder of the far-reaching effects of this deadly virus on all aspects of our livelihoods and our rights which we cannot take for granted”, stated Council President Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger. “We are all in this together, and we must act together with a sense of purpose if we are going to achieve our common agenda to promote and protect human rights around the globe", she added.
The President’s Statement, presented by Ambassador Tichy-Fisslberger, and adopted by the 47 member States of the human rights body by silence procedure, “calls upon States to ensure that all human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled while combatting the pandemic and that their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic are in full compliance with their human rights obligations and commitments”.
The adopted statement also calls on High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to produce a report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the enjoyment of human rights around the world, including highlighting good practices and areas of concern, to be presented at the 46th session of the Human Rights Council scheduled to take place in February/March 2021.
States also invited the High Commissioner to present an oral update on the human rights impact of COVID-19 at the 44th session of the Council scheduled to start on 22 June, which is expected to set the tone for similar statements addressing the multiple human rights angles of the virus during the planned three-week meeting.
Since suspending its 43rd session on 13 March due to coronavirus restrictions, the Human Rights Council has been conducting its business in a virtual manner holding regular Bureau meetings, with States and NGOs, and three “virtual informal conversations”, including with the High Commissioner and Special Procedures who have issued more than 90 press releases and statements addressing COVID-19.
Media contact: Rolando Gómez, Media Officer, OHCHR, Human Rights Council Branch, email@example.com or + 41 79 477 4411