Her Excellency Nada Al-Nashif, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, gave a speech during a panel discussion on the sidelines of Expo 2020 Dubai in which she reviewed the challenges facing the world in containing the COVID-19 pandemic and the role played by the UAE in strengthening global efforts.
Al-Nashif spoke about the UAE’s commitment to international cooperation since the onset of the pandemic. Furthermore, she referred to the UAE’s airlift of supplies to more than 136 countries and its provision of significant logistical support to the United Nations and global relief efforts in distributing protective medical equipment and vaccines in order to contain the pandemic. Her Excellency also referred to the pivotal role played by the country in pushing for the first resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in April 2020, which called for global solidarity to combat the pandemic.
Al-Nashif praised the UAE’s domestic efforts to provide free COVID-19 tests, treatment, and vaccines to all without discrimination.
Moreover, Al-Nashif expressed her hope for continued partnership between the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UAE, which she described as “important.”
Al-Nashif stressed the importance of the common values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on its anniversary today in helping to confront “difficult times for all of humanity and the far-reaching social and economic effects of the pandemic.”
“The pandemic has wasted years of progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and revealed weaknesses in political, economic, and social systems, which widened social gaps and placed the greatest burden on the vulnerable and marginalized,” she added.
Al-Nashif underscored that “equality is at the heart of human rights,” yet the pandemic revealed “systematic discrimination and pervasive inequality” regarding some rights such as access to medicine, health, food, housing, water, education, and decent work. Gender-based violence has also increased.
She added that the world is now aware of the meaning of solidarity and collective determination. Moreover, she stressed that the provision of vaccines must be based on the fundamental right of every human being to enjoy the highest standard of health without discrimination and expressed her regret that the “slow and uneven spread of vaccines has left a deep gap” in global recovery efforts.
Al-Nashif pointed out that the pandemic destroyed many economic sectors worldwide, and she noted that the pandemic provided a historic opportunity for humanity to recover better by creating more resilient, equitable, and sustainable societies and created momentum to address the climate crisis with greater resolve.
She viewed this as an opportunity for governments to recommit to equality in accordance with their legal obligations and to use their maximum available resources towards establishing all rights, including supporting, protecting, and providing job opportunities that preserve human dignity.
Al-Nashif spoke of the critical importance of “allowing civil society organizations to work without intimidation or retaliation in rebuilding better.” She called for “protecting civil and political rights and promoting public dialogue,” noting that countries that have succeeded in overcoming catastrophic effects “have effective systems and policies based on respect for human rights that guarantee universal and equal access to social protection, health, education, and justice.”
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation