The First International Forum for Life Care co-organized by the Association for International Talent Education and Development (AITED), Hong Kong Care for Life Asia Association, and French International Ecological Protection Promotion Association was held online with a main venue in Geneva, and branch venues in Beijing, China and Paris, France on September 2nd, 2020. Human rights law professors, representatives of international non-governmental organizations, medical workers and volunteers from China, the United States, Japan, France, Australia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan discussed the topic of protecting right to life and health in the global fight against COVID-19. Mr. Rory Mungoven, Chief of Asia-Pacific section of Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and Dr. Shyami Puvimanasinghe, Human Rights Officer at the Right to Development Section of OHCHR attended and addressed the meeting; Mr. Sean Rooney, CEO of the Australian National Community Medical Care Association LASA, and President Kerri Lanchester Madam, sent congratulations on the seminar before the opening ceremony.
Dr. Xie Tianwu, president of the Association for International Talent Education and Development (AITED), delivered a welcome speech on behalf of the meeting organizer. AITED is a non-profit organization registered in Geneva, and is aimed to promote the education and development for international talent. In this year, the association focuses on the protection of human rights during the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the exchange of international talents. He believes that in this conference, the international community will have an opportunity to exam the existing social governance system from the perspectives of international organizations, academics and scientific researchers, front-line medical workers and social workers, which will definitely benefit for the achievement of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals of United Nations. This webinar is a great conference for networking, collaboration, sharing of experiments and the building of trust relationships internationally.
The forum was presided over by Lu Zhian, associate professor of Fudan University Law School. Mehmet and Humar from Xinjiang told their story of fighting the epidemic through a video message. They believe that the local government has well protected their rights to life and health and their villages during the pandemic; the government introduced necessary measures of protection, quarantine and testing, together with treatment and tracking, which has made them feel more secure. They became voluntary volunteers for local epidemic prevention.
Shyami Puvimanasinghe and Rory Mungoven were amazed and attracted by this forum and its topic and they elaborated on fighting COVID-19 and protecting human rights to life, health and dignity from perspectives of Impact of COVIC-19 on UN 2030 Agenda, and measures taken by Asia-pacific countries. Dr. Frederik from the University of Southern Denmark gave a keynote speech on Human Rights Intervention Program in a Pandemic Crisis, emphasizing that every country should adhere to the Convention to protect basic human rights and choose the more important one between rights to liberty and rights to life; Prof. Patricia DAVIDSON, the Dean of Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, USA, emphasized the importance of hospice care in COVID-19 pandemic; Dr. William E. Rosa, a postdoctoral researcher at the Memorial Sloan Kettering University (MSK) Cancer Center in New York, USA, and fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, gave a speech on the COVID-19 Era Palliative Care: Practical Measures to Alleviate Health-related Pain; Ms. Joyce Marais, deputy mayor of Paris 19th arrondissement, gave a speech on Protecting Human Rights is Our Mission, saying that we should unite and respect WHO opinions instead of performing selfishness, low efficiency and lack of responsibility; Dr. Jing Liang, Academician of Royal Academy of Medical Sciences, United Kingdom, who is also from School of Pharmacy, University of Southern California expressed her opinions on Principles of Aggravation of Neurodegenerative Diseases Caused by the Epidemic; Mr. YVAN, head of the French LED organization, and Ms. Candy from Social Workers Without Borders in Hong Kong shared opinions on experiences and lessons of humanitarian response and prevention of COVID-19 together with community services in Myanmar and Hongkong; Mr. Guo Yi, Executive Vice President of the International Association for the Promotion of Ecological Protection (France) and the Director of the French Lions Club introduced Greatest Human Right. He believed that the biggest respect and protection of human rights is to ensure a happy life.
Ms. Liz Prescott, Senior Consultant of Australian Community Department, Mr. Gao Guangshen, Senior NGO Worker in Hong Kong, Ms. Qian Xiaofeng, Head of International Department of Amity Foundation and the grassroots anti-epidemic doctor Ms. Jiang Xiaoping discussed how to better protect public health in the context of COVID-19, emphasizing on discarding prejudice, resisting misinformation and rejecting stigmatization; the role of the World Health Organization is quite valuable and medical staff deserve more respect; employment opportunities should be accessible to more people, especially disadvantaged groups, so as to protect their right to life and development.
Finally, the meeting announced “The Geneva Declaration on Global Anti-epidemic and Human Rights Protection” jointly signed by all participating domestic and foreign experts. The Declaration believes that the outbreak of the new coronavirus indicates that all mankind is facing ever-changing global challenges. It is necessary and extremely important to meet these challenges through mutual trust and international cooperation. The Declaration believes that the World Health Organization has authoritative medical and scientific research expertise, and supports international anti-epidemic cooperation under the leadership of the World Health Organization; strengthens information sharing between governments and non-governmental organizations, exchanges beneficial experiences and practices, and conducts testing methods and clinical trials. International cooperation in the research and development of medical treatment and vaccine drugs, to contain the global spread of the epidemic as soon as possible, and try to prevent the epidemic from spreading across borders.
The Declaration also calls on all countries to put the protection of the people’s right to life and health at the top priority, and insist on putting people first and life first. Scientifically deploy medical forces and important materials, and take strong measures in important areas such as protection, isolation, detection, treatment, and tracking, to reduce the infection rate and case fatality rate to a minimum, and to protect everyone, especially healthy people, from the risk of new coronavirus attack, To ensure that citizens enjoy the most basic rights to life and health.
The coordination of international macroeconomic policies should be strengthen to ensure the stability and smooth flow of the global industrial and supply chains. Countries with the right conditions should, on the premise of normalizing epidemic prevention and control, strictly follow the professional recommendations of the World Health Organization, resume work, production and schooling in an orderly manner and open economies to the greatest extent. We will support developing countries, especially African countries, poor areas and ethnic minorities, in their fight against COVID-19 and social recovery, creating more job opportunities, improving their quality of life and space for economic development, and implement the right to development stipulated in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Declaration on the Right to Development.
Countries should protect vulnerable groups in the pandemic and ensure that their right to life and health is equally guaranteed through efficient resource supplementing measures and specialized special protection measures; through strict rule of law protection and precise operation mechanism, the right to life and health protection measures can be coordinated with other human rights. The labelling and stigmatization of diseases and viruses out of any politically motives is prohibited, discrimination and attacks against minorities are prohibited, and equal protection of the most basic human rights such as survival and development should be ensured.
The destiny of mankind is interconnected. Mutual understanding, inclusiveness, trust, support, solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons in our fight against the virus. In the face of this global epidemic, experts and professors, civil society organizations, ordinary citizen and individuals should make joint voice, strengthen international cooperation and communication, support fair justice in order to protect the basic human rights such as right to life, health and development, jointly cope with global health risks and challenges facing human society.
The seminar was broadcast alive on WeChat, Sina, Kandian, Youku Video and other media platforms.