UN Secretary-General: Human rights at 'under assault' everywhere
UN Secretary-General: Human rights at 'under assault' everywhere

World: The Secretary-General of the United Nations – António Guterres, in a recent video message, said that at present, human rights are ‘under assault’ at every place. 

While addressing the annual session of the Council, he said, “Human rights cannot be confiscated by dictators or erased by poverty. Nor are they a luxury that can be left for later. They are inescapable and powerful”. 

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Speaking on the current scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccine equity, the Secretary-General stated, “Vaccine inequality displays an utter disregard for the human rights of entire countries as well as of regions”. He made the remark while urging and appealing to the government’s pharmaceutical companies and their partners to come forward and do their part in supporting the international agency to achieve 70% of the vaccination target set by – World Health Organisation – WHO. 

He added, “We can best address these human-rights abuses by centring our response around rights themselves — an approach set out in my Call to Action on Human Rights, the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. The pandemic has squeezed developing economies dry. Many face debt defaults. Few will be able to invest in a strong and sustainable recovery”. 

Education has become a ‘crisis within crisis’, stated the UN Secretary-General, as he highlights the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the education sector. 

He then asked the governments to put the rights of women and girls at the forefront, citing, “The recovery is an opportunity for targeted investments in women’s education, employment, training and decent work, to make up ground lost during pandemic“.  

Apart from this, other significant matters of concern were also addressed by Guterres, including climate change, noting that, “Let’s be clear: A few countries are trampling on the rights of the rest of the world. A few companies are reaping rich rewards while ignoring the rights of the poorest and most vulnerable”.