Left Menu
Development News Edition

Governments urged to protect poor against modern slavery, step up development financing

Unless governments act now, millions of the world’s most vulnerable people could be pushed into contemporary forms of slavery and other exploitation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a UN independent human rights expert has said.

UN News | Updated: 17-09-2020 09:21 IST | Created: 17-09-2020 09:10 IST
Governments urged to protect poor against modern slavery, step up development financing
Mr Obokata said although States may view the dismantling of labour rights as a “quick fix” for the increasing pressure on business brought on by the ensuing global economic recession, this will come at a “high price”. Image Credit: usafe.af.mil

The warning comes from UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Tomoya Obokata, who presented his first report to a virtual session of the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday.

"Historical levels of underemployment or unemployment, loss of livelihoods and uncertain economic perspectives are some of the complex consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic which have hit the most vulnerable hardest", he told members.

"Combined with weak safety nets and dismantling of labour rights and social protection regulations in some countries, there is an acute risk that the poorest will be pushed into bonded labour, forced labour or other contemporary forms of slavery for survival."

No 'quick fix'

Mr Obokata said although States may view the dismantling of labour rights as a "quick fix" for the increasing pressure on business brought on by the ensuing global economic recession, this will come at a "high price".

He particularly called for accountability for businesses that exploit vulnerable workers producing, processing and providing medicine, medical equipment or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the pandemic.

"Labour rights must be upheld and social protection ensured across all economic sectors," he stressed. "States must ensure that in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, no one is left behind and pushed into slavery-like practices."

Listen to local communities

Relatedly, governments are being called to spend more on development, both at home and abroad, and to listen to communities most in need.

The appeal was made by the UN independent human rights expert on the right to development, Saad Alfarargi, who also presented his annual report to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council.

"To maximize the impact of limited resources available for development, states and development finance institutions must put communities and individuals at the centre of their decision-making", he said.

Mr Alfarargi pointed out that development finance was already lagging prior to the pandemic, which has added an additional strain, particularly on the budgets of developing countries.

He urged authorities to increase assistance to developing countries, to institute progressive tax systems as a means to bridge resource gaps and to include communities in decision-making that affects them.

"People who benefit from development have voices – and we need to listen, to ensure that we target limited resources where they will matter most," he said.

Mr Alfarargi said communities across the globe report that they are not being involved as decision-makers from the start of discussions surrounding which development projects to finance. On the contrary, he added, development banks, governments and companies often propose projects without their input.

He called on decision-makers to create and budget for inclusive consultation processes in line with the central promise of the UN's sustainable development agenda to leave no one behind.

About UN Special Rapporteurs

Special Rapporteurs and other independent experts fall under what is known as the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council.

They are mandated by the Council to monitor specific country human rights situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.

They are neither UN staff, nor are they paid by the Organization.

Visit UN News for more.



Post-COVID-19 Nigeria needs a robust Health Management Information System to handle high disease burden

Nigeria is among a few countries that conceptualised a health management information system HMIS in the early 90s but implementation has been a challenge till date. Besides COVID-19, the country has a huge burden of communicable and non-com...

Morocco COVID-19 response: A fragile health system and the deteriorating situation

Learning from its European neighbors, Morocco imposed drastic measures from the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to contain its spread. The strategy worked for a few months but the cases have surged after mid-June. In this sit...

COVID-19: Argentina’s health system inefficiencies exaggerate flaws of health information system

You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you cant recover from death, was the straightforward mindset of Argentinas President Alberto Fernndez and defined the countrys response to COVID-19. The South American nation imposed a strict...

Rwanda’s COVID-19 response commendable but health information system needs improvement

Rwanda is consistently working to improve its health information system from many years. However, it is primarily dependent on the collection and reporting of health data on a monthly basis. Besides, evaluation studies on Rwandas HIS publis...


Latest News

Fire breaks out at factory in Narela in Delhi; no casualties reported

A fire broke out at a factory in the Narela area of the national capital last night. As many as 26 fire tenders were sent to the spot, as per Delhi fire service.No casualties have been reported. The cooling operations are underway. ANI...

China opens auto show under anti-disease controls

Ford, Nissan and BMW unveiled new electric models for the Chinese market on Saturday as the Beijing auto show opened under anti-virus controls that included holding news conferences by international video link. Automakers are looking to Chi...

Meghalaya CM takes stock of rain situation in state

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Friday took stock of the situation arising out of heavy rainfall here. Several roads and bridges in the state have reportedly been damaged by the hail and heavy downpour that battered the state in...

NASA astronaut plans to cast her ballot from space station

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins told The Associated Press on Friday that she plans to cast her next vote from space more than 200 miles above Earth. Rubins is just outside Moscow in Star City, Russia, preparing with two cosmonauts for a mid-Oct...

Give Feedback