Date: September 16, 2020
Time: 03.00 pm to 5:00 pm
Panelists recalled the historic adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and stated that Bangladesh remains committed to fulfilling its duties under Constitutional and international law to respect and uphold human rights.
Despite human rights being one of the fundamental pillars of the UN Charter, it was noted that their protection remains a major challenge for the UN system and Member States. Considering the fact that all countries, big and small, have human rights issues—including democracies—participants remarked that the human rights system of the UN, and the UN as a whole, can only be as effective and as relevant as its Member States make it.
Participants also noted that strong support is needed for supranationalism over bilateralism, and that regular budget allocations for human rights should be increased, as voluntary contributions can affect transparency and discourage multilateral action. One of the panelists remarked that human rights standards are Western-centric and often fail to take into consideration the Global South’s view and practices. It was also noted that given the current state of the world, the UN’s human rights system should redirect its focus toward issues relating to development, as these require increased cooperation and partnerships.
Participants noted that the UN should also focus on addressing inequalities and preventing violence in pursuit of the protection of democracy and human rights. In order to ensure that the UN upholds its commitments to human rights, participants also noted that the UN should ensure equality of people, as well as between Member States. After all, the protection of human rights is critical for sustaining peace and achieving sustainable development.