Efforts made to reduce inequalities globally

Friday, 2021-12-10 09:25:36
 Font Size:     |        Print

Only 8% of adults in low-income countries are vaccinated. (Photo UN NEWS)
 Font Size:     |  

NDO - The theme of this year's Human Rights Day selected by the United Nations is “Equality - Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights”. In the context of deepening inequalities due to the far-reaching impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN emphasised that only by strengthening cooperation, can the world overcome the epidemic, bridging the gap between rich and poor.

December 10 every year is designated by the UN as Human Rights Day. On this day, 73 years ago, the UN General Assembly adopted and promulgated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first comprehensive global document on human rights and also one of the important achievements for the UN.

According to the UN, the heart of human rights is equality and non-discrimination. These are also the central principles of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in which the UN promotes solutions to the root causes of discrimination that affect the most vulnerable groups in society, such as women and girls, indigenous people, migrants and people with disabilities.

Over the past decades, efforts to protect and promote human rights have made many positive achievements, but inequalities still persist, both between and within countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities, leading to a crisis of poverty and discrimination in many places.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet noted astonishing figures about the gap in access to a vaccine against COVID-19. As of early December, only 8% of adults in low-income countries had received one single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, compared with 65% in high-income countries.

She also emphasised that the sudden increase of the epidemic, especially the recent appearance of the Omicron variant, is a concrete demonstration of the consequences of unfair access to vaccinations. New variants such as Omicron pose a higher risk of infection in communities where the majority of the population is unvaccinated.

The pandemic also widens the gap between rich and poor in society. In fact, while poverty is worse in countries with low social welfare coverage, the world’s billionaires’ wealth is growing every day.

The recently released United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report shows that COVID-19 has pushed an additional 100 million children around the world into poverty.

On the contrary, according to the report on global inequalities conducted by the network of social scientists, the net worth of the world’s billionaires in 2021 accounted for 3.5% of the global household wealth, up sharply from 2% in the period before the COVID-19 epidemic broke out.

The UN Human Rights Council stressed that ensuring human rights must be at the centre of efforts in the “post-COVID-19” world. No one is safe until all are safe. The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis and therefore requires a unified response on a global scale. Inequalities of access to vaccines and distribution will only prolong the epidemic, with a more dangerous level.

Translated by NDO