Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Conflict, insecurity, weak institutions and limited access to justice remain a great threat to sustainable development.
The number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 70 million in 2018, the highest level recorded by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in almost 70 years.
In 2019, the United Nations tracked 357 killings and 30 enforced disappearances of human rights defenders, journalists and trade unionists in 47 countries.
And the births of around one in four children under age 5 worldwide are never officially recorded, depriving them of a proof of legal identity crucial for the protection of their rights and for access to justice and social services.
Human rights are key in shaping the pandemic response. By respecting human rights in this time of crisis, we will build more effective and inclusive solutions for the emergency of today and the recovery for tomorrow.
Human rights put people centre-stage. Responses that are shaped by and respect human rights result in better outcomes in beating the pandemic, ensuring healthcare for everyone and preserving human dignity.
The UN Secretary General urged governments to be transparent, responsive and accountable in their COVID-19 response and ensure that any emergency measures are legal, proportionate, necessary and non-discriminatory. “The best response is one that responds proportionately to immediate threats while protecting human rights and the rule of law,” he said.
To focus on “the true fight,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for a global ceasefire, in an appeal urging warring parties across the world to lay down their weapons in support of the bigger battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 2 million people have signed the online petition in support of the Secretary-General’s cease-fire appeal. You can sign it here.
UN Peacekeeping Missions are continuing to carry out their mandates while also helping countries in their coronavirus response, which is guided by four main objectives: to protect UN personnel and their capacity to continue critical operations; help contain and mitigate the spread of the virus, ensuring that UN personnel are not a contagion vector; support national authorities in their response to COVID-19; and continue to deliver on key mandates.
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) stepped up health, water, sanitation and hygiene services to protect refugees and displaced people, working with governments to ensure that people forced to flee are included in COVID-19 preparation and response plans.