Global NGO community calls on UN and member States to maintain human rights focused response to COVID-19

Human Rights House Foundation stands with the global NGO community in advocating for human rights to be at the centre of the United Nations’ coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic and calling on States to respect the rule of law and legal protections for human rights in their responses. The following statements were made on behalf of more than 75 NGOs during the 9 April 2020 UN Human Rights Council’s virtual informal conversation with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Watch the full informal conversation with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights here (the statements start at 2:07:10).

Joint NGO statement on civil and political rights

We are in this together, don’t violate human rights while responding to COVID-19.

NGO joint call to states

As States are undertaking extraordinary measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, we recognize the good faith efforts of many States to effectively protect the right to life, right to health, and other human rights and well-being of their populations, and curb the spread of COVID 19. However, we urge States to implement these measures in the context of the rule of law and legal protection of human rights: all responses to COVID-19 must be evidence-based, legal, necessary to protect public health, non-discriminatory, time-bound and proportionate.

All responses to COVID-19 must be deeply rooted in the cross-cutting principles of respect of human dignity, independence and autonomy of the person, non-discrimination and equality, respect of diversities and inclusion.  Any response must comply with international standards on emergency legislation and be firmly grounded on the respect for the rule of law and human rights. Extraordinary measures are legitimate only under exceptional circumstances in so far as they aim at responding to an immediate threat to public health and only to the extent necessary and proportionate to counter such threat.

Read the full statement and recommendations to states, endorsed by 75 organisations including HRHF.

Joint NGO statement on the United Nations’ COVID-19 response

The COVID-19 crisis is powerfully demonstrating the ways in which the human rights of all people are interdependent and interrelated and that ensuring a safe and enabling environment for civil society to promote, protect and seek accountability for violations of these rights should be a universal commitment and concern.

Human rights must be central to the United Nations’ response across the board. The crisis makes the implementation of the UN Secretary General’s Call to Action on human rights even more urgent and civil society has a vital role to play in the development of an implementation plan of the Call to Action.

Read the full statement and recommendations, endorsed by 85 organisations including HRHF.

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