Human Rights Council urged to support UN chief’s call for a ‘new social contract’ after COVID-19
UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet on Monday urged UN Member States to promote a more inclusive post-pandemic recovery to help the world’s most vulnerable recover from the impact of COVID.
Citing a rise in “extreme poverty, inequalities, and injustice” in the last 18 months, Ms. Bachelet also warned that democratic and civic space has been eroded.
These were all problems that could be addressed if countries embraced the UN Secretary-General’s call for a New Social Contract, Ms. Bachelet said, on the opening day of the Human Rights Council’s 47th session in Geneva.
The initiative will be supported by a “New Global Deal of solidarity”, which shares “power, resources and opportunities more fairly”, in line with a plan for a UN-wide agenda that António Guterres intends to present to the UN General Assembly in September.
“These are bold steps that place unprecedented emphasis on the power of human rights to ensure sound and inclusive development, sustainable peace, and societies grounded in trust”, Ms. Bachelet added.
“Navigating an…inclusive, green, sustainable and resilient future, will be the work of this generation of world leaders – or their downfall”, the High Commissioner for Human Rights maintained, while acknowledging that many countries were facing “collapsing global trade, falling remittances, turmoil in commodities prices and debt burdens”.
Nonetheless, Ms. Bachelet, who is a former two-time President of Chile, also said that it was possible to deliver on economic and social rights by using proven techniques to combat corruption and illicit financial flows, deploying progressive fiscal policies and increasing budget transparency, participation and accountability.
“The evidence is conclusive: countries that had invested in social protection have been better able to weather the crisis,” she said, adding that a New Social Contract would rebuild public trust “through stronger support for fundamental rights”.
It was vital to establish societies in which policymakers looked first to combat inequalities and promote rights to social protection, health, education, and more, the High Commissioner continued.