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COVID-19: Human Rights Now More Than Ever COVID-19: Human Rights Now More Than Ever

COVID-19: Human Rights Now More Than Ever

As the entire world calls for social distancing to combat this unprecedented crisis, governments now more than ever need to practice inclusion and avoid further marginalisation that can leave certain vulnerable groups at greater risk.

Who are the World’s most Vulnerable?

The Homeless & Impoverished

Homeless people are finding it more difficult to self-isolate and maintain safe surroundings therefore putting themselves and others at risk, while those living in poverty are not able to afford basic preventive goods and services to help protect themselves. Governments and states must ensure that their most basic rights to shelter and health are met.

Migrant Workers

Labour camps are notoriously known for being cramped and lacking basic hygiene and sanitary services, thereby making workers unable to protect themselves against the virus. All countries must ensure all rights of migrant workers are respected and not marginalised in attempt to control the spread of the virus.


Prisons are high risk areas due to their closed proximities, with self-distancing proving to be virtually impossible in many cases. Governments must ensure that all prisoners including unjustly incarcerated journalists and human rights defenders be treated and cared for equally and without discrimination.

Minority Groups

Minorities and indigenous peoples living in conflict areas such as The Rohingyas in Myanmar and the Uyghurs in China, are at risk of being excluded from life-saving humanitarian interventions. Governments have a moral obligation to remain neutral and ensure that all possible aid and healthcare are provided to any minority group leaving no one behind.

Refugees & Internally Displaced People

Overcrowded and unhygienic refugee camps are especially vulnerable to the spread of disease, governments must set aside any anti refugee sentiment and ensure equal distribution of health care services for all refugees and internally displaced people.

Conflict Zones & Developing Countries

From complete lockdowns of cities, ill-equipped hospitals and limited or no access to basic and medical aid, conflict zones and developing countries are of particular concern. In this time of crisis, governments must not exploit this pandemic as an opportunity to seize control of a nation or people for their own political gain.

WEBINAR: Combatting disinformation: exploring the options

Covid-19 exposed and exacerbated the ‘Info-demic of misinformation. But what happens next to find a vaccine to return trust in media and contain the spread of misinformation. IOHR partnered with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) global director Dr Julie Posetti to discuss the options with Guy Berger, Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development at UNESCO, Damian Collins MP, co-founder of Infotagion and Sally Lehrman, Chief Executive of the Trust Project. … Read more →

Damian Collins MP: Making a stand on disinformation

Damian Collins MP took his expert knowledge from chairing the Select committee on disinformation and ‘fake news’ inquiry and co-founded the website Infotagion, to tackle disinformation during the Covid-19 pandemic. He is the new brand of politicians who are taking the fight to the street. … Read more →

New report highlights the impact of Covid-19 on stateless people

Amal De Chickera, co-director of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (ISI), shares the findings of a new report analysing the impact of Coronavirus on stateless people around the world. The study by ISI has found that birth registration has been suspended in many regions due to the outbreak of the virus. … Read more →

In prisons under Coronavirus lockdown

Sir Malcolm Evans, Chair of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT), gives an insight into the struggle to keep prison populations and prison workers safe from the pandemic under lockdown globally. … Read more →

Fact-checking in times of pandemic

Tom Phillips is the editor of Full Fact, the UK’s leading fact-checking charity. He discusses their role in debunking myths and false claims surrounding the global pandemic and the way technology can help uncover the truth. … Read more →

WEBINAR: Infodemic the virus of misinformation

The Coronavirus pandemic news narrative mutated into misinformation to become just as contagious. IOHR and ICFJ invited Dr Julie Posetti, The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), Editor-in-Chief of Blankspot Martin Schibbye, Tom Phillips the editor at Full Fact, Rui Zhong of the Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China & the US, and Natalia Antelava co-founder of Coda Story to discuss its implications. … Read more →

“Informational distancing” with Nina Jankowicz

A Disinformation Fellow at The Wilson Centre, Washington DC, Nina Jankowicz explains why disinformation thrives during a pandemic. Who gains from causing fear and mistrust through the spread of fake narratives and how can the public ‘informationally distance’ themselves from this manipulation? … Read more →

The Philippines: President Duterte’s violent approach to Covid-19

As of early April, President Duterte’s regime had arrested almost as many people for violating Covid-19 curfews and lockdowns as it had tested for the virus. Protesters have been arrested, journalists censored and people are put in cages and beaten if they break any lockdown restrictions. Yet despite the violence, US President Donald Trump publicly supports Duterte’s efforts. … Read more →

Covid-19 and the use of Big Data

As the Covid-19 virus continues to spread, accurate data and information is more sought after than ever before and Big Data lies at the heart of efforts to comprehend and forecast the impact that Coronavirus will have on all of us. It helps governments to track confirmed cases and fatalities, journalists to inform the public what is going on and organisations rely on it to make critical decisions but the use of Big Data is also raising several important questions about trust and privacy. … Read more →

Covid-19: The situation for migrant workers is worsening

Singapore announced today, 6 April 2020, that nearly 20,000 migrant workers have been put under quarantine for two weeks after a growing number of coronavirus infections were detected in their dormitories. The ongoing pandemic has worsened the situation for migrant workers across the world as conditions in labour camps – notoriously known for being cramped and lacking basic hygiene and sanitary services – make it impossible for workers to protect themselves against the virus. … Read more →

Russia: AI and hi-tech surveillance to fight the Covid-19 epidemic amidst fears of rights violations

Russia has started employing advanced facial-recognition technologies, artificial intelligence and video surveillance in its struggle against the coronavirus pandemic. A new so-called coronavirus information centre is pulling together high-tech resources, including surveillance cameras and artificial intelligence, to monitor social media for disinformation about the spread of the disease, properly enforce quarantines, and identify empty supermarket shelves. … Read more →

Coronavirus: Ethical Implications

Dr. Julian Sheather, special adviser in ethics and human rights to the British Medical Association and ethics adviser to Médecins Sans Frontières, highlights the ethical implications arising from the outbreak of coronavirus. According to the adviser, this virus is not just a biomedical event. It’s a human one too, which involves community rights. … Read more →

Joint statement to release political prisoners in Turkey

Authorities around the world are granting temporary or early release to prisoners to address the spread of the coronavirus in overcrowded prisons. The Turkish government has drafted legislation to give almost 100,000 prisoners this respite, but that will not include any political prisoners; a category which includes journalists, lawyers, politicians and human rights defenders. Dr Ugur Tok of the Platform for Peace and Justice launches a civil society call on the Turkish government to also include those unjustly detained on terrorism charges in the bill. … Read more →

Hungary: Orban uses pandemic to try and seize unlimited power

Hungary’s parliament will consider an emergency bill next week that would give prime minister Viktor Orbán sweeping powers to rule by decree, without a clear cut-off date. The bill seeks to extend indefinitely Hungary’s state of emergency, which was declared two weeks ago. Parliament would only be able to lift the state of emergency by a two-thirds majority, exactly the majority held by ruling party Fidesz, meaning ultimately it’s Orban’s decision. … Read more →

Wife of Anoosheh Ashoori calls for his release from Iran prison as COVID-19 runs rife

COVID-19 could prove a death sentence for prisoners trapped in Iran with no medical care. Sherry Izadi, wife of the British-Iranian Anoosheh Ashoori, calls for her husband’s immediate release. In Evin prison, hygiene is extremely poor. When Mr Ashoori was recently transferred to a ward, where two people were already infected by the virus, his wife called on the UK government to do more to secure his release. At the same time, another British national, Nazanin Zagari-Ratcliffe, was allowed temporary release from Evin to be with her family. … Read more →

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