Our response COVID-19

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In a historic statement released this week, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD or Committee) starkly warned that “only 15.21% of the population of low-income countries has received even one vaccine dose, creating a pattern of unequal distribution within and between countries that replicates slavery and colonial-era racial hierarchies.” As the Committee notes, under the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, States are obligated to eliminate all forms of racial inequities, be they by purpose or effect.

Data is necessary for the realization of human rights. Without it we cannot understand the prevailing human rights situation, we cannot make informed policy decisions, and we cannot assess the effectiveness of those policy decisions. But there is a human rights data gap. 

Nearly 200 ESCR-Net members and allies joined together to amplify the voices of our communities who have been most affected by the inequalities exacerbated by the WTO’s refusal to pass a comprehensive waiver on the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement on COVID-19 vaccines and therapies.  

The pandemic has exposed not only the failures of the current global economic order dominated by the system of capitalism, of which tax havens and tax abuse disguised as tax minimisation strategies and wealth or asset management are a major component, but also widened the pre-existing socio-economic inequalities between rich and poor countries even further. The alarming revenue gaps plaguing countries in the global South is more than just numbers. They are indicative of the urgently needed investment in public services and provisioning of those services to realizing the rights of the most vulnerable communities.

ESCR-Net, Movement Law Lab, and The People’s Vaccine Alliance and Médecins sans frontières /Doctors Without Borders co-sponsor the Online Global Rally to put pressure on the World Trade Organization (WTO) and States who refuse to pass a meaningful vaccine waiver on life-saving COVID-19 vaccines and therapies.

Over 280 organizations and social movements united in ESCR-Net - International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net), demand urgent answers from the World Trade Organization (WTO), States and pharmaceutical companies to the letters sent by the UN experts raising urgent questions about the measures they will undertake to facilitate universal and equitable access to vaccines. According to the World Health Organization, about 75% of the 5 billion vaccines already administered have been concentrated in just 10 countries, amid a mounting global pandemic death toll.

During this year’s 47th session of the Human Rights Council, the following members Mihir Mankad(Center for Economic and Social Rights), Debbi Stothard (...