Mr. President of the General Assembly,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Portugal aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union and by Denmark, on behalf of a group of countries.
The Secretary-General launched his Call to Action before the pandemic.
Now, it is clear that pre-existing inequalities have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Yet again, the ones in the most vulnerable situations are being disproportionately affected. And the pandemic has also been used as a pretext to violate human rights.
Portugal reiterates its strong support to the Call and its commitment to implement the “highest aspiration”.
On the occasion of the opening of the 46th regular session of the Human Rights Council, on Monday, the SG invited us to focus on two areas that require urgent action: gender inequality, on one hand; and racism, discrimination and xenophobia, on the other hand.
We couldn’t agree more with such priorities. Portugal, in the framework of the current rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union, has precisely defined gender equality and the fight against racism, discrimination and xenophobia as two of our human rights priorities.
Let me quote the Call to Action: “When everyone has equal access to opportunity and choice, and can claim their human rights, no one is left behind.”, end of quote.
We must ensure that fear and hate will not grow in our societies. To make sure that each person feels valued, safe, respected, and not deprived of opportunities.
We must keep human dignity and human rights at the centre of our build back better effort.