COVID-19: Interfaith forum calls for protection of human rights

Carlos Hernandez migrated from Olancho, Honduras, a region heavily affected by climate change and social violence. Photo: Sean Hawkey/ LWF
Carlos Hernandez migrated from Olancho, Honduras, a region heavily affected by climate change and social violence. Photo: Sean Hawkey/ LWF

LWF and interfaith partners submit statement to Human Rights Council

(LWI) - The global pandemic of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and climate change are both heavily affecting those already vulnerable, and aggravating the human rights situations in many countries.

To call attention to this, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) as a member of the Geneva Interfaith Forum for Climate Change, Environment and Human Rights (GIF), has submitted a written statement to the 44th Regular Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The statement calls for the recognition, monitoring and addressing of “the intersections between the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and human rights.”

Climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic impact the health and well-being especially of the most vulnerable. They have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, and heavily impacted the economy, resulting in hardship and loss of livelihoods.

Impact on the most vulnerable

Those “with scant socio-economic means and living in the margins are hardest hit,” reads the statement of the interfaith partners. The global crises and states’ reaction to them are “adversely affecting people’s enjoyment of the human right to health,” undermine “on a massive scale the rights to food and water, among other economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR)” and adversely affect “people’s political and civil rights.”

Furthermore, both crises place “heavy burdens on women” who have “less access to basic human rights” and “face systematic discrimination and sexual and gender-based violence that escalate during periods of instability.”

Against this background the GIF calls upon the Human Rights Council and States to

  • Recognize, monitor and address the intersections between the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and human rights.
  • Support the creation of a special procedure on climate change and human rights to take stock of climate impacts on human rights and to ensure coherence between climate actions and human rights obligations.
  • Recognize the human right to a safe, clean and healthy environment for all not least by protecting biodiversity and bolstering Nationally Determined Contributions to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • Ensure the protection of human rights in measures and programs to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Ensure the full and equal enjoyment of economic, social, cultural, civil, and political rights and the transition to a sustainable, resilient, and net zero-carbon economy and society in a post-Covid-19 world.
  • Promote debt cancellation for low- and middle-income countries and global tax reform to support States in fulfilling their human rights obligations in line with the Guiding Principles on Human Rights Impact Assessments of Economic Reforms.

Read the statement

 

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