HRC 54 SRI Statement to the ID on the OHCHR report on economic, social and cultural rights, and COVID-19 recovery

Published on September 15, 2023

54th session of the Human Rights Council

Item 3: ID on OHCHR report on economic, social and cultural rights, and COVID-19 recovery

Friday, 15 September 2023


Thank you, President

The current economic, geopolitical and global health context is a reflection of colonial power dynamics and structures shaping racist inequalities in resources, health access and outcomes within and among countries. COVID-19 highlighted the impacts of decades of systematic underfunding of health systems partly fuelled by austerity, privatisation and structural adjustment programs, underpinned by neoliberal ideologies and approaches.

The predictable consequences of these were felt during the pandemic and had a specific and disproportionate impact along gender, race and class lines.  This is a form of structural and economic violence that must be addressed to ensure that health systems are robust and equipped to stop reproducing and enacting structural violence onto the most marginalised.

The reform of the international financial architecture to which the report refers is urgent. It should encompass the meaningful human rights scrutiny of all the international financial institutions, their policies and practices and accountability measures for violating human rights standards including through reparations. We regret that the report has not addressed the necessity of reparations for colonialism and debt cancellation, particularly by international financial institutions which have used debts to entrench neoliberal frameworks. Greater accountability and the imperative of international financial institutions and transnational corporations to adhere to the human rights framework is not just urgent; it is overdue.

Thank you.