The establishment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 was a groundbreaking moment for global consensus on the shared rights of all human beings. 72 years later, international human rights agreements are often violated without consequence, with their impact on directly improving state’s human rights records modest at best. And Covid-19 has presented new, unexpected and unprecedented challenges to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as exacerbating suffering and violence from ongoing conflicts.
One billion people live with a disability. The International Day of Persons with Disabilities provides a key opportunity to highlight the issues they face and take stock of how the humanitarian sector can play its part in building a more inclusive post-Covid-19 world. This is an urgent challenge.
In the context of a global crisis, access to reliable information is more important than ever. Limiting free speech and press freedoms can impede accurate understanding and hence mitigation of the crisis. Beyond COVID, freedom of the press and expression are foundations of any functioning democracy.