Every year on 10 December, the world celebrates Human Rights Day, remembering the very day in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The theme for this year’s celebration relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to Recover Better by ensuring human rights are at the heart of the recovery efforts.
This year’s global crisis has been fueled by deepening poverty, rising inequalities, structural and entrenched discrimination and other gaps in human rights protection. Measures have become necessary to close these gaps and advance human rights to ensure we fully recover to a world that is better and more resilient, just and sustainable.
As numerous countries around the world have entered their second wave of the pandemic, it has become abundantly clear that once this crisis is over, we simply cannot go back to how the world was before. From this shared tragedy comes an opportunity: for humanity to build back better, we must put human rights at the heart of the recovery.
The pandemic has reminded us of a simple truth: a world that fully respects the human rights of all is a world better prepared to deal with and recover from all crises.
Recovering better means fixing inequalities within and among countries, creating universal health and social protection systems, addressing environmental degradation, strengthening institutions, and tackling structural human rights violations which have fed and spread the severity of COVID-19.
On International Human Rights Day, let us heed the call and stand up, together, for human rights. Let us imagine a new world, a better world where the visionary values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have led us all closer to true recovery.
May the people of the Philippines and their leaders subscribe to those values as we face the struggles and challenges of recovering from this global crisis and emerging with a society that is better than what we had before this pandemic changed everything.*