UAE underlines commitment to fighting COVID-19, protecting human rights

Photo: WAM

The United Arab Emirates has underlined its commitment to mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic while protecting the rights of all citizens, residents, and visitors, particularly those most vulnerable to the social, economic, humanitarian, and human rights impact of the virus.

In a message to the United Nations Secretariat, His Highness Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, stated: "The UAE is conscious that the COVID-19 pandemic represents more than a public health emergency and is well aware of the significant and unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, which can only be overcome through shared determination and global cooperation."

His Highness added: "We also understand the critical importance of protecting the human rights of all people in the UAE, irrespective of citizenship or status. Accordingly, consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals principle of ‘leave no one behind,’ the UAE Government has adopted a multifaceted response to the COVID-19 pandemic, grounded in the principles of public trust, transparency, and the provision of testing and treatment for all.’’ His Highness said the UAE was committed to applying the guidance issued by the UN on combating COVID-19, as well as to sharing with international organizations the UAE’s approach in order to contribute to the exchange of information, experiences, and best practices in combating the pandemic.

Proactive, concrete measures taken by the UAE Government to protect all within its borders included one of the most ambitious testing programs globally, with accessible, free testing and treatment for COVID-19 using the latest technology. To date, the UAE has tested more than one in ten of the population, or around 1.3 million people.

Furthermore, the UAE is determined to protect migrant workers, who were valuable contributors to society, from the threat of COVID-19. A wide range of measures has been enacted, including guaranteed, non-discriminatory and accessible healthcare and testing regardless of nationality or immigration status; safe and sanitary quarantine facilities where required; provision for basic living needs, including food, medication, and accommodation; and automatic extension of legal status, residency, and work permits until the end of 2020.

Other measures to provide job security for migrant workers included a $US70 billion stimulus package for the UAE economy and businesses, a virtual labor market to enable temporary work with other employers, and dedicated repatriation flights for workers who wished to return to their home countries.

In terms of foreign aid, the UAE has led a gesture of solidarity and shared humanity by providing more than 486 tonnes of aid to over 45 countries, supporting nearly 486,000 medical professionals in countries ranging from Sudan to Somalia and from Iran to Colombia and the US. Moreover, Dubai’s International Humanitarian City has facilitated the distribution of around 85% of the WHO’s PPE shipments worldwide.

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