The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairman Justice (Retired) Arun Mishra on Tuesday said the right to life should prevail over the rights of patent holders to ensure that the scarcity of life-saving drugs, medicines and vaccines relating to COVID-19 is overcome and are made available to the poor at affordable prices.
Addressing an online global meeting of Human Rights Council, Justice Mishra spoke at the session on states response to the COVID-19.
Justice Mishra said that the world is facing the colossal loss caused by COVID-19 and new challenges have emerged for protecting the life and livelihoods of the marginalised sections of the society, education has suffered, healthcare infrastructure fell short, families left destitute and children orphaned.
Highlighting efforts by NHRC to combat COVID, he said: "NHRC, India through its various interventions including advisories has been trying to sensitive the systems of governance to deal with such an unprecedented situation. Even the dignity of the dead had to be taken care of by the NHRC India."
In his brief speech, the NHRC Chairperson touched on several key issues and expressed concern about how these were impacting human rights. These included, among others, online commerce, which he said, has concentrated wealth in fewer hands.
He also referred to the challenges of cross-border terrorism and how the rehabilitation of its victims and drug peddling is lurking at large.
On freedom of cyberspace, Justice Mishra cautioned that it should not be misused to subvert the constitutional values.
Emphasising that environmental issues are endangering human existence, he said that we have to unite to protect the planet earth for the next generation. "We cannot afford to fail, stop or fear. We have to resolve a New Declaration to take care of the unprecedented situation," he concluded.
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