Recent updates from the UN on COVID-19

Here are the latest updates from the UN regarding COVID-19. These cover economic and business issues, reports from the WHO, updates for NHRIs and the Human Rights Council.

The International Monetary Fund has published an update to its most recent World Economic Outlook from April, warning that gains made in driving down extreme poverty could be in peril, due to the pandemic. Read update.

A video statement from the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, warns that the COVID-19 pandemic could push nearly 50 million more people into extreme poverty, but this is avoidable.

The World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects report states that that the COVID-19 pandemic will shrink the global economy by 5.2 per cent this year, representing the deepest recession since World War Two, and triggering a dramatic rise in extreme poverty.

The UNDP has published a guide called “Human Rights Due Diligence and COVID-19: Rapid Self-Assessment for Business”, to help businesses manage their human rights impacts. Read more.

The World Health Organisation’s Regional Office for Africa reports that COVID-19 continues to spread across the continent. It took 98 days to reach 100,000 cases of COVID-19 and only 19 days to reach to 200,000 cases.

A number of news outlets have reported that the World Health Organisation’s general secretary, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has raised concerns that the world is entering “a new and dangerous phase” of the COVID-19 pandemic, as infection rates continue to climb.

The UN has announced that it is going to extend enhanced support to NHRIs, at the Annual Review Meeting of the Tripartite Partnership between UNDP, OHCHR, and GANHRI to Support National Human Rights Institutions.

The recent UN Comprehensive Response to COVID-19 provides opportunities for NHRIs, particularly in monitoring the risks of human rights violations, acting as a bridge between excluded populations and the state, and providing rights-based advice to governments.

After a three month long COVID-19-enforced break, the Human Rights Council held an Urgent Debate on racism, alleged police brutality and violence against protesters in response to the killing of American George Floyd in police custody. Read the UN OHCHR’s report of the debate here.

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