48th session of the Human Rights Council
Half-day panel discussion on deepening inequalities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and their implications for the realization of human rights
Intervention by Ukraine
(Geneva, September 28, 2021)
Ukraine welcomes the idea of organizing this important panel discussion. We believe it will help better identify the ways to mitigate inequality by sharing experience and best practices.
In 2015, when the Sustainable Development Goals were agreed, one of those being “The reduced inequality”, none of us knew that shortly the world would face a major crisis such the COVID-19 pandemic, which exacerbated the already existing inequalities to the extent that made our economies and health systems vulnerable beyond the worst predictions.
Every country faced the need to ensure rapid response to all of the challenges inflicted by the COVID-19 emergency.
In this fight Ukraine has paid special attention to the most vulnerable groups of population – women and children, older persons, persons with disabilities and others.
Measures were taken to strengthen protection of health workers; to enhance the social protection of IDPs; to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in penitentiaries. The Government has also adopted a number of regulations aimed at supporting businesses.
Special attention was paid to ensuring improvement of communication with the public and civil society, in particular, via building the capacity of the National COVID-19 hotline.
In addition, National Strategic Plans for Elimination of Risks Related to the Spread of COVID-19 are being implemented with the aim to ensure the continuity of HIV services as well as anti-TB measures.
Yet, as we speak about the situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine in Donbas and Crimea, it is impossible to evaluate the extent of the COVID-19 inflicted problems as any relevant data remain inexistant. We urge the Russian Federation as the occupying power to fulfill its obligations under IHL related to the provision of health services to the population living in the occupied territories.
As it has become clear now – vaccination is one of the main prerequisites to our success in the fight against COVID-19 and all measures should be taken to ensure equal access to life-saving vaccines.
It is only through genuine unity and cooperation that we will be able to implement the goal chosen as this year’s UN General Assembly theme – “to ensure the rights of all peoples”.
I thank you.