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UN rights council urges rights-based approach to COVID-19 pandemic
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UN rights council urges rights-based approach to COVID-19 pandemic

Speaking Monday in a UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) debate on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said that governments providing healthcare and social protection to all citizens would be able to mitigate the shock of COVID-19, but other countries would need to cease human rights violations to effectively combat the virus.

Bachelet singled out many countries, reviewing the impact of COVID-19 on populations who have “demonstrated deep mistrust of their people” in response to various human rights violations. She condemned the US failure to combat systemic racism and police brutality, explaining that recent actions, such as the shooting of Jacob Blake and death of Daniel Prude, demonstrated the lack of accountability and reform to address the issues. The update comes a few weeks after her office condemned gun violence in the US.

By ensuring human rights and actively protecting populations, Bachelet argued countries can “de-escalate grievances, deliver appropriate protection, establish a sound foundation for development and security, and ensure justice, freedom and rights.” The UNHRC believes adherence to human rights norms are essential to address and combat COVID-19 globally.

The UNHRC concluded discussion on the human rights impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday and opened general debate on the High Commissioner’s global human rights update.