Opening Remarks by Former Deputy Prime Minister and Chairperson of Girija Prasad Koirala Foundation Hon. Sujata Koirala in the International Virtual conference (human needs or human rights) on sept 11 2020.

We live in turbulent times.  COVID-19 pandemic has created significant impact on human lives in every country in the world. The world is grappling with global health emergency. The worst victim has been the human capital, its health, skills and knowledge.  

The pandemic has devastated the economy. It is rampant and likely to extend to 2021 also. It is worrying that countries do not have any meaningful national wide capacity for real time public health facilities, and the invention of vaccine is in long wait.

Covid19 has also impacted on both human needs and human rights. Individuals have both material and spiritual needs. Material needs include food, clothing, shelter, medical treatment and schooling. Border line between needs and rights is not sharp. I believe needs come together with human rights as part of the human security.  

Regulations are important to ensure their protection and provisions made for protection should be duly implemented.  The domestic contexts in different countries vary but it is important that relevant guidelines are followed at all levels with a sense of urgency and sensitivity.   

Government agencies have lead role in the implementation of regulations and guidelines to stop violation of human rights and ensure that basic human needs are in place.  Accordingly, the use of information technology should be done in a responsible manner for the protection of weak, vulnerable and marginalized groups.

Covid19 has confined us to home. It has caused loneliness, depression, anxiety and also domestic violence. Women have been its worst victims. It is important at this stage make them feel loved, cared and respected by others.

People also desire to have esteem, value and participation. Abraham Maslow has created a hierarchy of needs starting from physiological needs, and progressing to security and safety needs, social needs and friendships. At the peak of Maslow’s hierarchy is the self-actualization needs. At this stage, people’s needs are presumed to have achieved their full potential as human beings. Here an individual has both esteem and participation.

I feel that from basic needs to the enjoyment of human rights, there should be adequate provisions in rules and regulations for their provision, protection, and promotion.

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