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China calls on international community to act with solidarity to protect people's right to life and right to health at the Human Rights Council

On April 9, the United Nations Human Rights Council held virtual informal conversation with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Michelle Bachelet, on the effect of COVID-19 on human rights. Ambassador CHEN Xu, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland, called on international community to act with solidarity to protect people's right to life and right to health.

COVID-19, Ambassador CHEN said, is spreading across the world, posing enormous threat to life and health and bringing formidable challenge to the States in their efforts to safeguard all human rights, including the right to life and right to health of their people. It is imperative for the international community to act with solidarity, step up comprehensive cooperation and foster greater synergy so as to achieve the final victory against the virus.

Ambassador CHEN underlined three points that are key to minimizing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on human rights: first, all States should put people's life and health first, make effective and collective response for control, treatment and collaboration at the international level and take effective measures to protect people's right to life and right to health. The international community should provide aid and support to developing countries in their response to the outbreak. Countries concerned should immediately lift unilateral sanctions they imposed on some developing countries.

Second, all States should pay high attention to the challenge of the pandemic on economic and social development, guarantee people's basic needs as well as their economic, social and cultural rights and right to development, and guarantee the rights of women, children, the disabled, the elderly, migrants and other vulnerable groups.

Third, all parties should jointly oppose stigmatization and politicization of public health issue. Instigating racial discrimination and xenophobia, and creating divisions and confrontations deliberately should be abandoned.

Ambassador CHEN pledged, China's support to international organizations in playing active roles in international cooperation against the pandemic, with the WHO playing the leading and coordinating role. China also welcomes Madam High Commissioner and her Office to make contributions to the international efforts within their mandate. China will continue to work with other parties to prevail over COVID-19 outbreak through solidarity and mutual assistance, and ensure the well-being of people of all countries.

This is the first virtual informal meeting that the Human Right Council has ever held, and first meeting of the Council to discuss the effect of COVID-19 on human rights.

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