Jakarta: People are facing a new form of inequality and discrimination in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.
"Nearly six billion doses of the covid-19 vaccine have been administered globally but only about two percent have been administered in Africa as compared to nearly 80 percent in high- and middle-income countries. This demonstrates the deep inequality in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic," Marsudi stated at the 76th United Nations (UN) General Assembly to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action, which was monitored via live broadcast on UN TV, Thursday.
The minister noted that discrimination toward certain types of vaccines also widened the gap and led to uneven recovery.
At this critical moment, vaccine equality is the biggest moral test before the global community, according to Marsudi.
"In line with the call for the Durban Declaration and Program of Action for equality and non-discrimination, we must ensure that everyone everywhere can be vaccinated sooner than later," she stated.
In promoting solidarity, Minister Marsudi noted that the Durban Declaration and Program of Action (DDPA) calls on all countries to act in solidarity, as unilateral actions will not suffice.
"No single country can face this pandemic alone. Now is the time to put aside our differences and focus our energy on addressing the pandemic together," Marsudi emphasized.
The minister noted that during the COVID-19 pandemic, all had seen the trend of misinformation that had triggered confusion and hatred in society that was left unresolved.
"This trend of misinformation can disrupt our unity and weaken our pandemic response," the minister noted.
Marsudi remarked that strong international cooperation was deemed necessary to provide timely accurate information and prevent misinformation.
"The core of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action will continue to be tested over time. Today is the challenge of COVID-19, while tomorrow there will be another challenge. If we succeed, it will be proof that the Durban Declaration and Program of Action remain relevant in addressing the challenges of our times in achieving a world free from all forms of discrimination," the minister stated.