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GENEVA December 9, 2020 – More than seven decades on, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides an essential framework for the world to “recover better” from the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN’s independent human rights experts said today.

“We are convinced that this document remains as relevant today as it was at its adoption by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948, as the framework to guide States in promoting, protecting and fulfilling human rights for all people during these uncertain times,” the Special Procedures mandate holders said in a statement to mark Human Rights Day.

Special Procedures are composed of 55 mandates and 79 mandate holders appointed by the UN Human Rights Council who monitor human rights in all parts of the world.

The experts underlined “the centrality of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the international human rights protection system” at a time when the world faces not only the pandemic, but also climate change, racism and discrimination. Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration in 1948.

Saying that the year 2020 will be remembered for its “unique existential challenges”, the experts said commemoration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the closing days of the year serves as “an important and powerful message: the global threats to humanity demand global responses that rest on multilateralism, cooperation, and solidarity.”

Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.