Along with our Sexual Rights Initiative partners, we are calling on a COVID-19 response that recognizes the Human Rights of all people. Our work on a pandemic response must be rooted in the recognition of human rights for all, including the right to development and to health, and the tackling of deep-rooted anti-Black racism, ableism and continued imperialism. Below is a shortened version of the full statement for video. Full statement will be posted upon delivery.
Thank you Madam President, Action Canada makes this statement on behalf of 15 organizations from the following countries: Canada, the United States, the United Kingdoms and France.
As organizations based in the Global North, we are ashamed of our governments’ hoarding of COVID-19 vaccines.
Feminist movements have long advocated in international and regional human rights systems for the material conditions necessary to exercise sexual and reproductive rights. COVID-19 has increased economic and social stress to untenable levels.
COVID-19 has also restricted the ability to advocate for SRHR, including in UN spaces. Not only do we see retrogressions happening across the world but our ability to address them has been curtailed. Advocates from the Global South are being hit hardest.
It is therefore unthinkable that countries would take nationalistic approaches to vaccination. Nine out of 10 people in 70 low-income countries are unlikely to be vaccinated next year because the majority of vaccines have been bought up by the West, including by my own country. We must support the achievement of universal vaccination.
At the minimum, rich countries’ leaders must stop blocking the proposal to suspend the application and enforcement of certain intellectual property obligations under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
Our work on a pandemic response must be rooted in the recognition of human rights for all, including the right to development and to health, and the tackling of deep-rooted anti-Black racism, ableism, and continued imperialism.