GENEVA / HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL OPENING

22-Feb-2021 00:04:45
In their opening remarks to the 46th session of the Human Rights Council, the UN chief reiterated his call to the Myanmar military “to stop the repression immediately”, while the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said the “medical impact of the pandemic is far from over and its effects on economies, freedoms, societies, and people have only just begun”. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL OPENING
TRT: 4:45
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /FRENCH / NATS

DATELINE: 22 FEBRUARY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1.Exterior shot, Palais des Nations flag alley, nations’ flags flying, a sunny day.
2.Wide shot, Assembly Hall
3.SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“Today, I call on the Myanmar military to stop the repression immediately. Release the prisoners. End the violence. Respect human rights and the will of the people expressed in recent elections. Coups have no place in our modern world. I welcome the resolution of the Human Rights Council, pledge to implement your request and express my full support to the people of Myanmar in their pursuit of democracy, peace, human rights and the rule of law.”
4.Wide shot, photographer taking pictures, standing on a staircase
5.SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“I think we all realise that the use of force will not end this pandemic. Sending critics to jail will not end this pandemic. Illegitimate restrictions on public freedoms, the overreach of emergency powers and unnecessary or excessive use of force are not just unhelpful and unprincipled. They deter public participation in decision-making, which is the foundation of sound policy-making.”
6.Wide shot, Assembly Hall, podium to rear
7.SOUNDBITE (English) Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th UN General Assembly:
“It is essential that all responses to the COVID-19 pandemic are centred around human rights, and promote the protection of our citizens, including the most vulnerable who need our care and consideration the most. This includes ensuring the equal and fair distribution of vaccines for all. It is critical that civil society, the private sector, and all stakeholders are facilitated to participate and provide feedback throughout the planning and assessment of responses.”
8.Wide shot, podium with speakers, side shot, Assembly Hall
9.SOUNDBITE (French) António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
« L’incapacité d’assurer un accès équitable aux vaccins représente une nouvelle faillite morale. À eux seuls, dix pays se sont partagés plus de trois quarts des doses de vaccin contre le COVID-19 administrées à ce jour. L'équité en matière de vaccins représente une étape décisive dans la réalisation des droits humains. Le nationalisme vaccinal nous renvoie en arrière. Les vaccins doivent être un bien public mondial, accessibles et abordables pour tous. »
“The latest moral outrage is the failure to ensure equity in vaccination efforts. Just 10 countries have administered more than 75 per cent of all COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccine equity affirms human rights. Vaccine nationalism denies it. Vaccines must be a global public good, accessible and affordable for all.”
10.Wide shot, UN staff member broadcasting in foreground, Assembly Hall to rear,
11.SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“Today, the medical impact of the pandemic is far from over – and its effects on economies, freedoms, societies, and people have only just begun. The global rise in extreme poverty, accelerating inequalities; setbacks to women's rights and equality; to education and opportunities for children and young people; and to the Sustainable Development Agenda are shocks that could shake the foundations of societies.”
12.Wide shot, podium with speakers, Assembly Hall
13.SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“We need to prepare our recovery – because now, as States extend massive efforts to shore up and rebuild, we have the possibility of rebuilding better, more inclusive systems, which address root causes and prepare us to meet the challenges we will certainly face.”
14.SOUNDBITE (French) António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“La crise a un visage féminin. En effet, la plupart des travailleurs en première ligne sont des femmes, dont beaucoup appartiennent à des groupes ethniques et raciaux marginalisés et se situent au bas de l’échelle économique."
“The crisis has a woman’s face. Most essential frontline workers are women — many from racially and ethnically marginalized groups and at the bottom of the economic ladder. Most of the increased burden of care in the home is taken on by women.”
15. Med shot, screens broadcasting and photographer to rear
16.SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“We must also place a special focus on safeguarding the rights of minority communities, many of whom are under threat around the world.”
17.Med shot, podium with speakers,
18.SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“Just as biodiversity is fundamental to human well-being, the diversity of communities is fundamental to humanity. Yet we see not only forms of discrimination but also policies of assimilation that seek to wipe out the cultural and religious identity of minority communities.”
19.Wide shot, podium with speakers, side shot
20.SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“White supremacy and neo-Nazi movements are more than domestic terror threats. They are becoming a transnational threat.”
21.Wide shot, Assembly Hall
22.SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“Far too often, these hate groups are cheered on by people in positions of responsibility in ways that were considered unimaginable not long ago. We need global coordinated action to defeat this grave and growing danger.”
23.Med shot, TV broadcasting, Palais des Nations.
24.Med shot, Assembly Hall entrance, Palais des Nations.
25.Wide shot, near-empty Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations
STORYLINE
On the opening day of a new UN Human Rights Council session on Monday (22 Feb), UN Secretary-General, António Guterres reiterated his “full support to the people of Myanmar”, three weeks after the military takeover that has brought thousands out onto the streets in protest.

“Coups have no place in our modern world,” Guterres said in a pre-recorded video address at the Council’s 46th regular session, his comments coming after the forum held a special session on 12 February, in which it adopted a resolution condemning the junta’s move.

“Today, I call on the Myanmar military to stop the repression immediately,” the UN chief continued. “Release the prisoners. End the violence. Respect human rights and the will of the people expressed in recent elections. I welcome the resolution of the Human Rights Council, pledge to implement your request and express my full support to the people of Myanmar in their pursuit of democracy, peace, human rights and the rule of law.”

Guterres’s comments followed his censure at the weekend of the use of “deadly force” in Myanmar, where a protester was reportedly killed and many more injured.

Also addressing the Council at the start of its month-long session, which is being held almost entirely remotely to prevent the spread of COVID-19, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, focused on the massive and negative impact of pandemic.

“I think we all realise that the use of force will not end this pandemic. Sending critics to jail will not end this pandemic. Illegitimate restrictions on public freedoms, the overreach of emergency powers and unnecessary or excessive use of force are not just unhelpful and unprincipled. They deter public participation in decision-making, which is the foundation of sound policy-making.”

In another video message, President of the UN General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, underscored the need to focus on people’s basic needs – including new coronavirus vaccines - as the best way to recover from the pandemic.

“It is essential that all responses to the COVID-19 pandemic are centred around human rights, and promote the protection of our citizens, including the most vulnerable who need our care and consideration the most,” he said. “This includes ensuring the equal and fair distribution of vaccines for all. It is critical that civil society, the private sector, and all stakeholders are facilitated to participate and provide feedback throughout the planning and assessment of responses.”

Echoing the call for equitable vaccine access in a wide-ranging address that included a broadside against right-wing extremists becoming a “transnational threat” and the manipulation of personal digital data by Governments to control citizens’ behaviour, the UN Secretary-General described the fact that only 10 countries had administered “more than 75 per cent of all COVID-19 vaccines” as “the latest moral outrage”.

Vaccine equity “affirms human rights”, he said, but “vaccine nationalism denies it. Vaccines must be a global public good, accessible and affordable for all.”

Taking up that theme, Bachelet insisted that the new coronavirus crisis had illustrated the “deadly realities of discrimination”.

Deep inequalities and chronic under-funding for essential services were to blame, she added, with policymakers largely responsible for ignoring these basic needs.

“Today, the medical impact of the pandemic is far from over – and its effects on economies, freedoms, societies, and people have only just begun,” she said. “The global rise in extreme poverty, accelerating inequalities; setbacks to women's rights and equality; to education and opportunities for children and young people; and to the Sustainable Development Agenda are shocks that could shake the foundations of societies.”

Despite the scale of the challenges posed in this second year of the pandemic, the High Commissioner struck a positive note, insisting that “we have the possibility of rebuilding better, more inclusive systems, which address root causes and prepare us to meet the challenges we will certainly face”.

Among the many major problems facing people everywhere, the UN Secretary-General highlighted the disproportionate gender impact of COVID-19.

“The crisis has a woman’s face,” he said. “Most essential frontline workers are women — many from racially and ethnically marginalized groups and at the bottom of the economic ladder. Most of the increased burden of care in the home is taken on by women.”

Persons with disabilities, older persons, refugees, migrants and indigenous peoples had also paid a higher price than others during the first year of the pandemic. Guterres continued, before calling for “a special focus on safeguarding the rights of minority communities, many of whom are under threat around the world”.

Cautioning against “policies of assimilation that seek to wipe out the cultural and religious identity of minority communities”, the UN chief maintained that the diversity of communities was “fundamental to humanity”

And without identifying any countries, Guterres also spoke out against the rising and potentially international threat of right-wing extremist movements.

“White supremacy and neo-Nazi movements are more than domestic terror threats. They are becoming a transnational threat,” he said. “Far too often, these hate groups are cheered on by people in positions of responsibility in ways that were considered unimaginable not long ago. We need global coordinated action to defeat this grave and growing danger.”

Under the presidency of Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan of Jordan, the 46th Human Rights Council session is due to meet until Friday 23 March.
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