COVID-19 recovery must promote inclusive societies, OSCE parliamentarians say on Human Rights Day

Third committee officers 101220Kyriakos Hadjiyianni, Michael Georg Link and Kari HenriksenCOPENHAGEN, 10 December 2020 – At the close of a year defined by a global pandemic that has killed more than 1.5 million people worldwide, devastated economies and uprooted daily life for billions, the leaders of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s human rights and humanitarian committee today called for ensuring that recovery efforts focus on protecting the most vulnerable. Prioritizing an inclusive approach to the COVID-19 recovery is vital to ensure greater enjoyment of human rights, particularly for those suffering from extreme poverty and food insecurity, the parliamentarians said in a joint statement.

“As we celebrate Human Rights Day, we are reminded that inequalities continue to exclude many from their enjoyment of basic rights,” said Kyriakos Hadjiyianni (Cyprus), Michael Link (Germany), and Kari Henriksen (Norway). “It is therefore fitting that today is also the day that the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to the UN’s World Food Programme for its vital work in feeding the world’s most vulnerable people – those living in conflict zones, refugee camps and people suffering conditions of extreme poverty. Human rights must be protected for every human being, and so today we honour all those fighting for freedoms of speech and conscience and freedom from fear and want. As the work of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic begins, ensuring a truly inclusive approach to human rights promotion and humanitarian support is a challenge we must all rise to meet.”

This year’s Human Rights Day is being held under the theme “Recover Better - Stand Up for Human Rights,” and is focused on promoting equal opportunities for all, addressing the failures exposed by COVID-19, and applying human rights standards to resolve inequalities, exclusion and discrimination.

Hadjiyianni, Link and Henriksen are the Chair, Vice-Chair and Rapporteur, respectively, of the General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions. They recalled that on 12 November, David Beasley, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme, addressed the OSCE PA’s Standing Committee of heads of delegations, warning that 2021 could be a catastrophic year for food security if appropriate resources are not dedicated to the effort, highlighting the possibility of increased famine and mass migration.



Nat Parry

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