The United Nations is pleased to partner with the European Delegation and the Spotlight Initiative to host the Annual Human Rights Day Lecture and Youth Speakers Bureau on December 10, 2021.
This year’s Human Rights Day theme centres on Equality, as the solution to provide opportunities within and access to a fairer and more inclusive society. Under our generic call to action “Stand Up for Human rights,” emphasizes the importance of equality, keeping the COVID-19 pandemic context as a backdrop. Human Rights Day 2021 will seek to facilitate a platform for young people to accelerate this call to action and stand up in declaration of their human rights.
Young people have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes their access to education as data indicate that hundreds of thousands of young people’s rights to an education has been compromised. Further, the EU-funded Spotlight Initiative indicates increased reports of family violence and violence against women and girls, signalling that young people remain at increased risk of human rights violations. Despite this, young people remain unequally engaged in recovery planning. Human Rights Day 2021 seeks to address the impacts of COVID-19 on youth and on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda while inspiring youth and duty bearers to support a recovery that builds a better society for all.
To Promote & Educate – To host the Annual Human Rights Day lecture with a signature keynote highlighting the importance of upholding human rights.
To Engage, Facilitate and Catalyse Action - Facilitate the creation of a United Nations Youth Speakers Bureau to provide high-level visibility opportunities for youth voices within Jamaica and The Bahamas on human rights and the intersecting impacts of the pandemic.
Build and nurture partnerships to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals.
United Nations Resident Coordinator in Jamaica and The Bahamas
UN Human Rights High Commissioner
Deputy Head of Delegation, European Union in Jamaica
State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
Member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) | International Human Rights Voice, The Bahamas
Rampant poverty, pervasive inequalities and structural discrimination are human rights violations and among the greatest global challenges of our time. Addressing them effectively requires measures grounded in human rights, renewed political commitment and participation of all, especially those most affected. We need a new social contract which more fairly shares power, resources and opportunities and sets the foundations of a sustainable human rights-based [society] economy.
Human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights as well as the right to development and the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, are central to building a new human rights-based economy that supports better, fairer and more sustainable societies for present and future generations. A human rights-based economy should be the foundation of a new social contract.
Successive financial and health crises have had long-lasting and multidimensional impacts on millions of young people. Unless their rights are protected, including through decent jobs and social protection, the “COVID generation” runs the risk of falling prey to the detrimental effects of mounting inequality and poverty.
Environmental degradation, including climate change, pollution and nature loss, disproportionately impacts persons, groups and peoples in vulnerable situations. These impacts exacerbate existing inequalities and negatively affect the human rights of present and future generations. In follow-up to the HRC’s recognition of the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, urgent action must be taken to respect, protect and fulfil this right. Such action should be the cornerstone of a new human rights-based economy that will produce a green recovery from COVID-19 and a just transition.
Human rights have the power to tackle the root causes of conflict and crisis, by addressing grievances, eliminating inequalities and exclusion and allowing people to participate in decision- making that affect their lives. Societies that protect and promote human rights for everyone are more resilient societies, better equipped through human rights to weather unexpected crises such as pandemics and the impacts of the climate crisis. Equality and non-discrimination are key to prevention: all human rights for all ensure everyone has access to the preventive benefits of human rights but, when certain people or groups are excluded or face discrimination, the inequality will drive the cycle of conflict and crisis.
Many young people have been having a difficulty adjusting to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has resulted in varied mental health challenges which remain unaddressed for some due to socioeconomic inequalities. We call on duty bearers to address the inequalities which exist for youth to access mental health assistance, especially in the context of COVID-19, in order to ensure a life of dignity for all.
Under the umbrella theme of Equality and ‘Stand Up for Human Right’ messaging, Human Rights Day 2021 will serve as a forum to engage, facilitate and catalyse action on human rights towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, as we build back better from COVID-19.