Human rights need to be at the forefront of building back better

On Human Rights Day, IOE urges the international community to ensure that human rights are a key part of building back better from Covid-19.

Human Rights Day commemorates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. It is both a grim reminder of the plight of too many individuals who are deprived of their human rights and a call to action to improve respect for the Universal Declaration.

This year's Human Rights Day is happening as the Covid-19 public health emergency severely impacts respect for basic human rights. The pandemic has created a massive humanitarian crisis, affecting the health and livelihoods of millions of people. The ambition to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 is under threat with hard-won gains in the fight against poverty and the eradication of forced and child labour at risk of being reversed. The most vulnerable people – children and workers in the informal economy – are suffering the most.

On Human Rights Day 2020, the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) calls for making human rights a core part of building back better. In addition, together, we urgently need to address deep-rooted challenges such as informality, insufficient social protection systems and poor governance to name a few. Going back to a “business as usual” is not acceptable. We must take strong and determined action for a better future for all.

IOE and our member federations in more than 150 countries, which represent more than 50 million companies, are firmly committed to push the implementation of the Agenda 2030, to address outstanding human rights challenges and to promote the further uptake of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

We are pursuing innovative approaches to ensure recovery from this crisis places human rights as a central component. These approaches include a global leadership initiative to support the Alliance 8.7 on the eradication of child and forced labour. We are working with important partners in the Call for Action in the Garment Industry to minimise the impact of the pandemic on the sector. We are coordinating business in the development of a roadmap for the better implementation of the UN Guiding Principles and will be launching two publications to assist with this effort. We are joining others at global and local level to develop effective and sustainable social protection systems. And we accelerate our training efforts on business and human rights.

IOE and our global membership remains focused on driving business and human rights forward; and engaging with all stakeholders to ensure that the UN Guiding Principles are at the forefront of building back better.  

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