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HRC45: Nordic and Baltic countries stress that a democratic, gender equal and human rights-based approach is key to fighting Covid-19   

Human Rights Council
45th Session
Enhanced interactive dialogue
Statement by the Nordic-Baltic countries at oral update by the High Commissioner on the human rights impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

To be delivered by Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi

Madame President/Mr Vice-President,
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country Finland.
We thank the High Commissioner and her Office for leadership in putting human rights at the heart of the global response.
It is important to remain vigilant on the impacts of the Covid-19 on those that are most at risk of becoming targets of marginalization, stigmatization, xenophobia and racism, and other forms of discrimination.
The risk of women and girls to face the ill-effects of the pandemic is high.  For instance, women represent 70 percent of the health and social sector workforce globally, and too many women work under precarious conditions. We need to ensure women’s and girls’ full enjoyment of all human rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, and women’s full and equal representation on short-term mitigation and long-term recovery measures.
Responding to the pandemic must not come at a prize of weakening democracy, the respect of rule of law and human rights and of international commitments. Nor should the Covid-19 be used as a pretext to limit freedom of expression and of the media and access to information online/offline. On the contrary, a democratic, gender equal, human rights-based approach is a key to fight against Covid-19 and transparency and access to reliable information must be ensured.
A global pandemic needs a global response. Now is the time to protect and strengthen the multilateral system and the rules based international order – they need our political and financial support.
I thank you.