Half-day panel discussion on deepening inequalities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and their implications for the realization of human rights


Statement by Finland
Delivered by H.E. Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi, Finland


I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries, Estonia, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Finland.

As extreme poverty is rising for the first time in over 20 years, there is an urgent need for revitalized efforts on the SDGs in this “Decade of Action”. Agenda 2030, grounded in human rights, is our common roadmap towards inclusive, global recovery. Leaving no one behind must remain  our top priority, also because it is the foundation of reaching the goals overall. We reiterate our support to COVAX and for equitable access of vaccines.

The pandemic entails enormous health, humanitarian, development and economic consequences and serious repercussions on the enjoyment of human rights. These include hunger and malnutrition, domestic and sexual gender based violence, restricted access and participation for persons with disabilities, restricted access to SRHR services, discrimination against indigenous peoples and religious minorities, loss of income, widening education gaps and mental health challenges. It has particularly impacted those already discriminated against, including LGBTIQ-persons and women and children. This must not result in  a lost generation. Our responses must, have human rights at its heart and target already existing forms of discrimination and marginalization.

Actions to combat the pandemic must be in line with international law and human rights-based approach is key. We are concerned of the use of Covid-19 restrictions to undermine and violate civic space, including on human rights defenders, journalists and media workers, online as well as offline, around the world. An open, pluralistic and strong civic society  is critical  for the full and equal realization of all human rights for all, and for development that is truly sustainable.

Thank you.