UN: Legal reform following pandemic must be grounded in human rights

The ICJ delivered today a statement before the UN Human Rights Council during the Panel discussion on good governance in the promotion and protection of human rights during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.


The statement reads as follows:

“Mr President,

The ICJ welcomes this Panel’s focus on impact of new technologies on human rights.

States should redouble efforts to ensure that the development and application of new technologies, in particular by large transnational private companies, do not infringe human rights or deepen poverty and inequality, consistent with their human rights obligations. It is also a matter of priority that there be further clarification regarding the centrality of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as applied to new technologies.

In this respect, it is critical that legal reforms resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and in preparation for future public health emergencies, are firmly grounded in human rights.

States must act consistently in this regard, particularly when engaging in international cooperation in the context of the Human Rights Council, the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization or elsewhere.

Among the crucial processes underway in this regard is the negotiation of a “Pandemic Treaty” at the WHO. The ICJ, alongside other members of the Civil Society Alliance for Human Rights in the Pandemic Treaty, considers that the Pandemic Treaty should provide for an obligation for States to “put in place adequate and effective human rights safeguards when data and technology are used with the stated aim of responding to or in preparation for pandemics”.

I thank you.”



Massimo Frigo, ICJ UN Representative, e: massimo.frigo(a)icj.org, t: +41797499949

AdvocacyNon-legal submissions