The secretary-general of the United Nations Friday said "human rights are at risk" due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Sept. 25)
ANTONIO GUTERRES: Today political leaders face multiple crises. The windows to address climate change is almost shut. Inequalities and marginalization have reached new heights. And the COVID-19 pandemic has caused human suffering on a massive scale and brought economies to a standstill.
Now decades of advancing global health, development, poverty reduction, equality, and human rights are at risk. People across the globe are loudly expressing their discontent. They lack confidence that the political process can work for them.
Today's crises have put a magnifying glass on the social and economic injustices that fill our societies. They are an enormous governance challenge for societies and for the global community. Overcoming them requires approaches driven by unity, solidarity, and compassion. And for that, we need governance models and structures that work for the common good with an intergenerational perspective.
We need to prioritize the rebuilding of trust between people, institutions, and leaders. And we need leadership that is representative of both men and women in our societies. A global pushback on human rights has placed participation in its crosshairs. We see repressive laws and restrictions on the work of journalists and human rights defenders, especially women, often ending in murder, or jail, or spurious charges.
Governors, often operating in the overly broad definitions of terrorism, abuse new technologies to curtail basic freedoms of media and civil society groups. As civic space shrinks, so too do human rights.