International Human Rights Day

This year, in which the world is facing a health drama on a global scale and without precedent, the United Nations Organization has chosen the motto "Better Recovery" to stress that it is now even more fundamental to combat pre-existing evils that were aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic, first and foremost discrimination and inequality.

"This Human Rights Day is a call to action. A call for us all to seize this opportunity and to build the world we want," said Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. "Universal social protection, universal health coverage and other systems for the realization of fundamental rights are not luxuries. They keep societies standing and can shape a more equitable future," she exemplified.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres drew attention to the fact that the OVID-19 pandemic is undermining human rights by providing a "pretext for heavy security responses and repressive measures that restrict civic space and media freedom," while at the same time causing "a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable groups, including front-line workers, the disabled, the elderly, women and girls, and minorities.  "An effective response to the pandemic must be based on solidarity and cooperation. Dividing approaches, authoritarianism and nationalism make no sense against a global threat", he stressed.

In Portugal, since 1999, the Ombudsman’s Office has accumulated the role of defender of the citizen in the face of possible abuses by public administrations with that of a National Human Rights Institution. As a result, the Ombudsman’s Office in Portugal is the privileged interlocutor of international institutions that monitor compliance by signatory states with the rights enshrined in the Declaration, while at the same time making the dissemination of fundamental human rights and their protection a part of their activity, being primarily vigilant with regard to respect for the rights of the most vulnerable: children, the elderly and people with disabilities, for whom it provides dedicated telephone hotlines.