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Joint statement on the importance of human rights awareness in the public service towards effective implementation of measures to combat COVID-19

Joint statement

Importance of human rights awareness in the public service towards effective implementation of measures to combat COVID19

Madam President,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of Azerbaijan and Malaysia, co-sponsored by …. The full version of the statement will be available on the Extranet.

2. The Human Rights Council, in its resolution 37/7 of 22 March 2018 “Promoting human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals through transparent, accountable and efficient public services delivery”, underlined that a professional, accountable and transparent public service upholding the highest standards of efficiency, competence, integrity, accessibility and non-discrimination is one of the essential components of good governance, and ensuring such a public service contributes to the promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

3. The unprecedented and multiple crises brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have had a negative impact on all sectors of society worldwide, exacerbating existing inequalities and undermining the enjoyment of human rights.

4. While States are striving to fight the pandemic and recover from it, it is important that the rights, welfare and well-being of all, are at the centre. Undeniably, during the pandemic, predicaments faced by those in the most impoverished and vulnerable situations are being further exacerbated.

5. The severe situation brought by the pandemic has borne immense pressure on public services in all countries. During these difficult times, governments face unprecedented challenges to remain effective in the delivery of essential services to those most at risk. Faced with the challenges brought about by the pandemic, various inadequacies have been exposed in the delivery of public services in many parts of the world and inequalities that impede access to them.

Madam President,

6. In this regard, we stress the importance of a human rights-based approach in COVID19 response which strengthens and facilitates governments’ efforts to develop and implement measures and policies that are inclusive, necessary, proportionate, non-discriminatory in line with States’ obligations under international human rights law. It must be emphasised that the public service will be of the highest quality only when underpinned with the principles of equality, participation, efficiency, transparency and accountability.

7. Capacity-building, training of public servants in accordance with the World Programme for Human Rights Education and technical cooperation in the field of rule of law, good governance and human rights education are conducive to achieving sustainable progress in this matter.  

8. The Human Rights Council is well placed to bring together all stakeholders including civil society, to forge collaborations in mitigating the negative impact of the pandemic and to recover better, through efficient, accountable, transparent and inclusive public service. In this regard, we believe that international cooperation on Human Rights as well as State’s responsibility in ensuring efficient, accountable, transparent and inclusive public service delivery is even more necessary today in the face of current pandemic related challenges.

Thank you.

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