World Health Organisation Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus says respect for all human rights is fundamental to the success of the political response to Covid-19. The solutions must be shared equitably as global public goods – not as private commodities, that widen inequalities and become yet another reason some people are left behind.
On Friday, 11 December, Ghebreyesus delivered the annual lecture for the Human Rights Law Centre at the University of Nottingham. His lecture addressed global health and human rights.
During his lecture, Ghebreyesus highlighted five key points:
Human rights and Sustainable Development Goals are equally important for the realisation of health for all.
States can – and must – balance realising health for all with protecting human rights.
Covid-19 has demonstrated that human rights are interconnected as health is a condition of other rights.
With vaccine programmes being developed, vulnerable communities must be prioritised and enough vaccines made available to poorer countries.
Finally, social measures taken to protect the health of a population must be taken in consultation with the public and communicated clearly to ensure the understanding that some personal rights (such as enforcing social distancing and wearing masks) must be sacrificed for the greater good.