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Protecting the Human Rights of Vulnerable Persons in and after the Covid-19 Pandemic
March 7, 2022

PANEL: Meeting on enhancing technical cooperation and capacity-building in promoting and protecting the human rights of persons in vulnerable and marginalized situations in recovery efforts during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

Statement As Delivered by Delegation of the United States of America

Human Rights Council – 49th Session

March 7, 2022

Thank you, Mister Chairman, for convening this panel.

The COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled and exacerbated the deep inequalities and inequities impacting persons in historically excluded and marginalized populations, including members of racial and ethnic minority groups, indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, women and girls, and LGBTQI+ persons.

To protect the human rights of all persons during this pandemic, governments must facilitate civil society participation in crafting solutions; provide equal access to medical and health care and social services for all citizens; respect fundamental freedoms, including freedoms of expression, religion, and conscience; and establish effective mechanisms to support government transparency and accountability.

Governments must also address the heightened risk and incidence of gender-based violence reported during the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensure continued access to sexual, reproductive, and maternal and child health services, particularly among vulnerable and marginalized groups.

The United States is committed to provide over 1.2 billion safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine doses free of cost and with no-political strings attached; over 470 million have already been provided, in partnership with COVAX. In addition, the U.S. government allocated over $2.4 billion to support health systems, humanitarian assistance, and economic, security, and stabilization efforts worldwide.

We urge all countries, including Burma and the DPRK to allow humanitarian access in order to provide vaccines and aid to those in need during and in the aftermath of this pandemic.

Question:  What can we do now as Member States to better prepare for any future public health crises?

Thank you.