47th Session of the Human Rights Council
Agenda Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
Action Canada makes this statement also on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative.
We applaud the Special Rapporteur’s focus on substantive equality to address structural discrimination and the explicit naming of racism and coloniality as key factors in perpetuating systems of privilege and disadvantage.
The approach outlined in the report has never been more urgent. COVID 19 has laid bare and exacerbated pre-existing inequalities within and among countries. States and other actors have exploited this global health crisis to further restrict access and deprioritize sexual and reproductive health, to penalize people because of their sexuality and gender in the name of “public health”, and to force women and girls to live in unsafe conditions within the family home because of rolling lockdowns. We must resist the urge to view the devastating impacts of the pandemic, particularly in the Global South, as an exceptional set of circumstances. Rather, we must confront and transform the systems of power that perpetuate and benefit from these grotesque inequalities.
Finally, we deplore the systemic underfunding of the UN human rights system and the drive for so-called efficiency, including the cancellation of general debates in June. We call for the reinstatement of general debates at all sessions, with the option of civil society participation through video statements.
I thank you.