Bachelet: Pandemic has exposed existing global inequalities
By Antonio Broto
Geneva, May 14 (efe-epa).- The coronavirus pandemic has proven that the existing economic system is flawed because it creates vast inequalities, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet said Thursday.
“The current economic system does not work because it introduces huge inequalities and when we build the recovery we need think of a new economy that is inclusive and that is also sustainable,” Bachelet said at a virtual conference organised by the Association of
Accredited Correspondents to the United Nations in Geneva (ACANU).
The former Chilean president said the world would face a different reality which would force everyone to adapt.
Societies have accepted that some freedoms are restricted, such as those of movement or assembly, but these measures must be clear, proportionate and limited in time, she added.
The high commissioner continued that the new normal could last for years depending on the evolution of the coronavirus and whether or not a vaccine is found and urged that when treatment is identified it must reach everyone in the world.
“While the virus itself does not discriminate its uneven impacts have laid bare the man-made social and economic inequalities on which it feeds,” Bachelet said.
Post-Covid societies need to do more to invest in health.
Many countries have neglected this service and even some of the richest nations were unprepared for Covid-19, the high commissioner said.
Bachelet warned of a growing concern around the use of technology to trace and track infections.
“Approaches that do not incorporate safeguards can endanger people and undermine the digital trust that is essential for an effective response to Covid-19,” she added.
“There is a good way and a wrong way to introduce these kinds of innovation.
“For example, the centralised voluntary approaches that protect privacy limit the use of data and ensure the data is stored only as long as the health needs.”
The high commissioner turned to the most vulnerable in society and said that as countries begin to relax confinement measures communities on the margins, including older people, must not be forgotten.
As the coronavirus swept through care homes, the abandonment of the elderly has been shameful, she said, adding that the United Nations will launch investigations into allegations of negligence.
Bachelet warned the pandemic has seen a rise in hate speech against certain groups.
“If the (political) leaders do not condemn stigmatisation or xenophobia, there are often terrible reactions, such as attacks on health workers” or journalists, she added.
“This crisis has also revealed deep-seated bias with misinformation and hate speech directed at various groups, including migrants, minorities, and LGBTI people,” she said.
“Our responses need to protect people who face such abuse, including by ensuring that privacy is protected when digital tracing technologies are deployed.”