Demissionary Prime Minister Rutte has urged the United Nations General Assembly to focus not only on the disease itself, but also its societal consequences in the global fight against the coronavirus. He called violence against women a “shadow pandemic.”
“It was extra dangerous for women to stay at home during the lockdowns: domestic violence has increased dramatically,” Rutte said in New York. “In general, the vulnerable in society have been hardest hit by the crisis.” As an example, he cited women who lost their jobs in the textile industry due to the pandemic and young people who were unable to go to school, especially girls.
He added that some countries used the corona measures as an excuse to curtail human rights such as freedom of expression. “Many human rights activists and civil society organisations suffer.” Rutte didnt mention those countries by name.
The fight against corona is still the most acute problem worldwide, according to Rutte. He called for global solidarity, “because no one is safe as long as not everyone is safe”. According to him, more vaccines should be produced and shared with poorer countries.
He also said that the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan “threatens to undo 20 years of work”. According to the demissionary prime minister, it is too early to draw final conclusions, “but we have to keep the Taliban reputation in mind”.
With regard to the severe floods in Western Europe, he called for international cooperation against climate change. “Political tensions should not stand in the way of achieving goals. We cannot saddle future generations with the problem.”
Rutte acknowledged that the extreme weather, the fall of Afghanistan and the flared pandemic had led to a “summer full of worries”, but he didnt month his hearing to become cynical or fatalistic. “Thats my message. Especially today, especially here. Because the UN headquarters are a beacon of international cooperation, where we can find solutions together. Even if the problems seem too big and complex.”
Tonight Rutte has another meeting with UN Secretary-General Guterres and has a consultation with several heads of government.