robinson14_ Mahmoud HjajAnadolu Agency via Getty Images_covax Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A Human-Rights Approach to Global Challenges

The world will neither rebuild from the pandemic, nor have any chance of tackling wider existential threats such as climate change, until leaders once more instill a sense of hope in political and civic life. Fortunately, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights offers a roadmap to help humanity chart a path forward.

DUBLIN – The COVID-19 pandemic has recast the world for millions of people. Or, more correctly, the pandemic has exposed and aggravated deep inequalities of race, gender, and class across societies, and highlighted the inability of many political systems to respond in ways that protect individual human rights and dignity. The world will neither rebuild from this crisis, nor have any chance of tackling wider existential threats such as climate change, until we can once more instill a sense of hope in political and civic life.

Fortunately, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a roadmap already exists to help humanity chart a path forward. The declaration, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, is as relevant today as it was amid the physical and moral devastation caused by World War II.

Article 1 of the declaration states an abiding truth with resounding clarity: β€œAll human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” To realize this vision today, we must push leaders to go beyond warm words and commit to meaningful, feasible, and measurable actions. In particular, they need to ensure equitable global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and provide adequate financial support to countries most vulnerable to the ravages of climate change.

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