GENEVA, April 9 (Xinhua) -- The head of the UN rights body stressed here on Thursday that vital measures must be taken to upgrade health and social systems to ensure the greatest possible support to those most impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic.
The UN Human Rights Council on Thursday held its first ever virtual informal conversation with Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, on the implications of the COVID-19 crisis on human rights around the world.
In her address to the Council, Bachelet said that no one must be left behind in this effort, and as lockdowns could not continue forever, exit strategies must be carefully devised to ensure that societies and people are recovered.
"The world simply could not return to where it had been just a few months ago, before COVID-19," Bachelet said, adding that this colossal test of leadership demanded decisive, coordinated and innovative action from all and for all.
"We are physically distant today, but we must stand together," she noted.
Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger of Austria, who is current president of the Human Rights Council, delivered introductory remarks at the informal conversation, saying that the current outbreak is "the biggest challenge of our generation."
"The crisis was also a magnifying glass for a number of human rights issues and it forced societies to make excruciating trade-offs between saving lives and livelihoods, and between health on the one hand and privacy, freedom of movement and the right to peaceful assemblies on the other hand," she said.
Those speaking in the discussion include representatives from the European Union, China, Russia, Iran, the Philippines, Brazil and a number of non-governmental organizations.