Joint Statement of the UN Country Team in Mongolia on Human Rights Day 2020
- Human Rights Day is celebrated every year on 10th December as a tribute to when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the universal declaration of human rights in 1948. ‘Faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and value of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women’ has been minted by leaders from every continent as words of hope for humanity.
Human rights are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as in the absence of human dignity we cannot hope to drive sustainable development. Human Rights are driven by progress on all 17 SDGs, and the SDGs are driven by advancements on human rights.
This year’s Human Rights Day theme relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to build back better by ensuring Human Rights are central to recovery efforts. Today, women and men, girls and boys around the world are facing unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic– for example, increased gender-based violence, decreased access to quality education, loss of jobs and income and loss of livelihoods. We will reach our common goals only if we are able to create equal opportunities for all, address the failures exposed and exploited by COVID-19, and apply human rights standards to tackle entrenched, systematic, and intergenerational inequalities, exclusion and discrimination.
10 December is an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of human rights in re-building the world we want, the need for global solidarity as well as our interconnectedness and shared humanity.
We commend Mongolia for its significant progress in advancing human rights. In particular, the abolition of the death penalty, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity becoming a criminal offense. Legal guarantees have been established for the establishment of a national mechanism for the prevention of torture. The legislation focuses on gender equality, child rights, protection, youth development, the rights of persons with disabilities, and the elderly in compliance with UN conventions such as Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Progress has also been made in ensuring the participation of citizens, adopting a number of practical norms, and drafting a law to protect human rights defenders.
Under UN Human Rights’ call to action “Stand Up for Human rights”, we aim to engage the general public, our partners and the UN family to bolster transformative action and showcase practical and inspirational examples that can contribute to recovering better and fostering more resilient and just societies.
It’s our sincere hope that Mongolia will set an example in the region by adopting the Law on Human Rights Defenders. In addition, there are still more to address the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms including right to life, freedom of expression and civic space in reality.
The COVID-19 pandemic is testing our unity, thus in order to “Recover Better”, we should all be proactive and “stand up” by accepting and mainstreaming human rights in our everyday actions. Discrimination, stigma, exclusion, and marginalization only make individuals as well as societies more fragile and vulnerable. We must not tolerate any form of discrimination, especially any stigma towards the COVID-19 patients. This is the time for us to stand in solidarity, and show kindness, care and support to one another, to our friends and neighbors. Let’s ensure that we create a new normal that to provide universal health coverage and social protection for all.
We also call upon the Government to place the fundamental human rights at the heart of its recovery endeavors from this devastating pandemic that left so many vulnerable. This is the time to appreciate the frontline fighters such as health, law enforcement, social protection, registration, custom and inspection personnel. Standing together in solidarity is our first step to recovering back better.
Let’s stand up together for human rights.