United Nations: Pledging to slash inequality and create opportunities globally, US President Barack Obama committed the US to achieving global development goals at a United Nations summit.
“In doing so, we recognise that our most basic bond of humanity compels us to act,” Obama said at the three-day Sustainable Development Summit that ended at the UN Headquarters in New York on Sunday, reported Xinhua news agency.
Earlier on Friday, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the summit. The agenda includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals to eradicate poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.
Obama said the world suffers no illusions of the challenges ahead in achieving the goals, but “we understand this is something that we must commit ourselves to”.
In his defence of the 15-year plan, Obama mentioned, around 800 million people are scraping by on less than $1.25 a day and billions of people are at risk of dying from preventable diseases. In his address, the US president also warned against bad governance and inequality, among others, which threaten the achievement of the ambitious goals.
Obama also urged some countries to dump old attitudes, especially those that deny rights and opportunity to women.
While India is fighting to stop the spread of Covid-19, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, on Thursday criticised the quarantine measures put in place in the country, saying they stigmatise people.
She “expressed regret at the measures that have the effect of stigmatising sections of society, including migrants, such as the practice in some states of stamping hands of those quarantined in their homes, reportedly to ensure that they stay home, and sticking notices outside the homes of people quarantined,” the statement said.
She added, “It is important to weigh such measures against the right to privacy and avoid measures that would unduly stigmatise people within the community, who may already be vulnerable due to their social status or other factors.” She has been silent on other places which use electronic monitoring of those under quarantine. Bachelet also had strong criticism for the impact of the lockdown on migrant workers.
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“She was distressed by the plight of millions of internal migrants affected by the sudden announcement of a lockdown,” according to a statement released by her office in Geneva.
The statement said, “Without the ability to sustain themselves in urban centres and in light of the almost complete shutdown of public transportation, hundreds of thousands of migrant men, women and children were forced to walk hundreds of kilometres trying to reach their villages and home states. Some have died making the journey.”
“Supreme Court of India’s subsequent instruction on March 31 to ensure that migrants are provided enough food, water, beds and supplies as well as psychosocial counselling in shelters that should be run by volunteers instead of security forces, and that they should be treated in a humane manner,” the statement said.
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It quoted her as saying, “The Supreme Court’s order and its implementation will go a long way to ensuring the safety and rights of these vulnerable migrants. Many of these people’s lives have been suddenly uprooted by the lockdown, placing them in very precarious situations.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujarric highlighted Bachelet’s statement at his daily briefing on Thursday.