Statement delivered by Minister Counsellor Anniken Enersen
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The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to accelerate the global trends of democratic backsliding and weakening respect for human rights. It intensifies existing inequalities and hits those who are already marginalised and living in poverty the hardest.
Norway advocates international cooperation, solidarity, human rights and democracy in fighting the pandemic. We are concerned that some governments are taking advantage of the pandemic by using it as a pretext for violating human rights, shrinking the democratic space and redrawing the global playing field.
The Norwegian government is striving to make sure that human rights, democracy, the rule of law and gender equality are at the centre of both the immediate and long-term global response. We must build back better and greener and we are ready to show leadership in strengthening international cooperation in the years to come.
Through the Sustainable Development Goals, the international community has committed to leaving no one behind. We must uphold this commitment and ensure that all measures respect human rights.
The Norwegian Government is working on a white paper for national sustainable development, formulating a plan of action for achieving the sustainable development goals in our own country.
For Norway it is a given, that for this plan to succeed , it has to be underpinned by human rights principles, just as human rights also underpin our development cooperation policy and our international Covid-19 response.
In order to leave no one behind it is important for us to prioritize those furthest away from achieving the goals and to reduce inequality, nationally and internationally.
Responding to the pandemic must not come at the cost of weaker democracies or more human rights violations. On the contrary, an approach based on democracy, gender equality and human rights is the only way forward both in fighting COVID-19 and realising the 2030 Agenda.