High-Level Panel Discussion on Human Rights Mainstreaming
46th Session of the Human Rights Council
February 22, 2021
As Prepared for Delivery by U.S. Charge d’Affaires Mark J. Cassayre
(NOTE: Due to time constraints, this statement was not delivered orally, but submitted for the record to the Human Rights Council)
Panelists, thank you for your presentations on this important issue.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare how systemic racism and discrimination exacerbate risks of poor health outcomes and death among the most vulnerable. To ensure a strong, global recovery, it is vital that governments take active measures to protect members of at-risk racial, ethnic, and other marginalized groups and include them in public health decision-making in meaningful ways.
As President Biden said, “It is impossible to change the course of the pandemic without tackling it in the hardest-hit communities.” In his first week in office, President Biden took action to tackle the drivers of systemic racism and economic inequality, including through signing the January 21 Executive Order on Ensuring an Equitable Pandemic Response and Recovery; the January 26 Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States; and the January 26 Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships. These efforts put equity at the center of the U.S. fight against COVID-19, with a whole-of-government approach to embed racial justice and equity for marginalized populations across Federal agencies, policies, and programs.
We appreciate the recommendations delivered by the panelists and will continue to take steps to promote human rights and the inclusion of marginalized populations, as central to the global COVID-19 response. Thank you.