Submission to OHCHR Promoting and protecting economic, social and cultural rights within the context of addressing inequalities in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic

This submission argues that one of the essential elements to “profoundly transform economies to make them greener, fairer and more inclusive” is to review the current macroeconomic system, which itself is a continuation of the historical and ongoing consequence of colonialism: its impact on people and to embark on a radical global system change - one which places people and the planet before profits. The submission points out that the rising inequalities, made even starker due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, are a symptom of the failed economic system that prioritises profit over people and impoverishes people with a specific emphasis on the gendered impact of this system. The submission specifically looks at the impact of the erosion of public systems through privatisation and financialisation and resulting human rights violations and abuses. The submission particularly looks at public health systems that were woefully inadequate to deal with the Pandemic. Finally, the submission makes a case for greater accountability and the imperative of international financial institutions and transnational corporations to adhere to the human rights framework. In this context, the submission highlights the impacts of austerity measures and fiscal consolidation, often as a condition of loans/aid, on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the poor, particularly the marginalised. Consequently, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights must address and highlight that macroeconomic and health structures are not immune from scrutiny and accountability.