Panel Discussion on Good Governance in Protecting Human Rights During and After COVID-19 Pandemic
Delegation of the United States of America
As Delivered by Sheridan Gardner
Human Rights Council – 50th Session
Thank you, Mr. President.
The United States strongly believes in the importance of good governance to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights. We are concerned about backsliding on human rights during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An effective all-of-society approach to mitigating public health crises requires government transparency and accountability, the full participation of civil society, actions to protect the health of workers, particularly those who cannot isolate themselves, and access to complete and accurate information.
Strong respect for human rights is part of the solution to public health crises. Government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic should not serve as a cover for broader repression under the guise of protecting public health by negatively impacting fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression.
Unfortunately, the international community has witnessed growing democratic decline in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In China, for instance, the PRC government continues to use a “zero-COVID” policy to address pandemic surges, which has undermined and repressed the human rights of individuals already affected by the pandemic.
In turn, the restrictions have limited access to urgently needed healthcare, forcibly separated families, prohibited movement outside of individuals’ homes, and prevented people from purchasing food and other necessities.
Question: What can be done to further practice good governance in order to safeguard human rights during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and afterwards?
I thank you