Recent Event: UN Side event on the use of security-related measures in response to COVID-19


The Omega Research Foundation, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (on behalf of the ICNL Alliance) invite you to our Human Rights Council virtual side event on the use of security-related measures in response to COVID-19 on Thursday, 25 February 2021, from 13:00 to 14:30 CET.

The event aims to:

  1. Raise awareness of problematic COVID-19 inspired security related regulations; disproportionate or otherwise unlawful use of force; and to contain protests;
  2. Promote practical measures to reduce the risk of unwarranted harm arising as a result of the use of force by law enforcement officials during the pandemic;
  3. Inform multilateral state discussions and efforts on these issues and provide recommendations for future actions and efforts to strengthen standards.

Over the last year the spread of COVID-19 around the world has had a devastating impact on people's health, personal freedom, livelihoods and way of life. In times of public emergency such as these, international human rights law permits states to modify or suspend – or derogate from – certain human rights obligations, including the right to freedom of public assembly. However, in order for these derogations to be justified there must be a legitimate aim such as preventing the transmission of a highly contagious disease and any actions taken must have a legal base, pursue a legitimate objective and be necessary, proportionate and non-discriminatory. Moreover, some rights may never be derogated from. These include the right to life and the right to be free from torture and other ill-treatment.
Scores of states have adopted de facto or de jure emergency powers to slow the spread of the coronavirus. They have repurposed counter-terrorism laws and introduced new security related measures that restrict rights and freedoms. Law enforcement agencies have frequently been tasked with enforcing lockdowns, quarantines, and social distancing measures. Numerous allegations of excessive use of force in implementing such measures have emerged. UN human rights experts have expressed their alarm that people in vulnerable situations have been affected disproportionately by the virus and these crackdowns.
This webinar brings together experts from the human rights field to discuss use of security related measures and law enforcement in response to the pandemic. It will highlight related cases of concern and propose practical measures to protect against overreach including against people who are particularly vulnerable.
The event will be conducted in English with Spanish interpretation, and the option of posing questions in French.

Clément Voule, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association
Stephanie David, European Center for Not-for-Profit Law
Security-related laws and measures that restrict freedoms and challenge democracy.
Anja Bienert, Amnesty International The Netherlands
Policing COVID-19 - excessive law enforcement responses to a public health crisis.
Helen Close, Omega Research Foundation
Mapping excessive use of force by law enforcement agencies in the pandemic.
Gerry Simpson, Human Rights Watch
Assault on free speech by law enforcement and military in Covid-19 responses.
Moderator: Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu, Executive Director, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development


To register for the event please click here: