Green Party Statement for Human Rights Day 2020

OTTAWA  – The theme of this year’s United Nations Human Rights Day is: Recover Better: Stand Up for Human Rights. As countries begin to lay out their pandemic recovery plans, the UN is urging that human rights be central to recovery efforts.

“The  COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare inequalities that persist both in Canada and around the world,” said Green Party Leader Annamie Paul. “As we begin to map out Canada’s recovery plan, we have an opportunity to create a world where everyone can live in safety and dignity. Now is the time to complete Canada’s social safety net so that no one is left behind, and to contribute to meeting the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) globally.

“Housing, health care and education are fundamental human rights. Greens have long called for a Guaranteed Livable Income that would provide a basic economic foundation for all Canadians. No one should be homeless. No one should have to choose between feeding their family and buying vital medicine. It should be an essential commitment of our government to ensure everyone in Canada has access to these basic necessities.

"Achieving the SDGs is a core component of the Green Party’s recovery plan, and is now more important than ever. As Canada strives to build a more just and equitable society, so too must we continue to contribute and engage in advancing the wellbeing of the global community. The devastating effects of the pandemic have spared no country and demonstrated our interconnectedness as never before. 

“Unfortunately, the pandemic has been used as cover to further erode civil liberties and fundamental human rights around the world. Amnesty International warned in the spring that several countries are using the pandemic to clamp down on opponents while doing little to protect vulnerable populations such as prisoners, migrant workers and refugees.”

The Green Party supports the proposal to the World Trade Organization from India and South Africa for a waiver from certain provisions of the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19. The federal government has supported the development of vaccines with public funding and should ensure that everyone has access to treatment for Covid 19 no matter what country they live in and no matter what their economic circumstances.

“Even as we welcome news of impending vaccine availability, we cannot ignore the continued threat of the climate crisis to global security and human rights. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected women, vulnerable populations, racialized, low-income and Indigenous communities. Climate breakdown will do the same, generating millions of climate refugees, as people are forced to flee their homes to escape famine, wildfires, drought, the impacts of severe storms or economic catastrophe.

“The rapid response to the pandemic has shown us what we are capable of achieving. It has demonstrated that, in a crisis, we can set aside partisanship and collaborate for the good of all people. Let’s not squander the valuable lessons learned, but rather incorporate those insights into a recovery plan that creates  a stronger, more resilient society with equal opportunities for all.”

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For more information or to arrange an interview:

Rosie Emery

Press Secretary